Reigate and Banstead council set for new leader and he's promised to be 'more approachable'

Reigate and Banstead council set for new leader and he’s promised to be ‘more approachable’

They’re changing guard at Reigate Town Hall, with a new council leader pledging to be “more approachable”.

Vic Broad, councillor for Tadworth and Walton, has led the council for four years, but will be replaced on Thursday (May 24) by Merstham representative Mark Brunt.

Cllr Brunt, who was first elected to the council in 2004 and has chaired the authority’s planning committee for the past six years, was chosen as leader of the Conservative group at a private party meeting earlier this month.

He is also the Conservative nominee to be the Tory-dominated council’s leader and is therefore expected to be voted in at the full annual council meeting on Thursday (May 24).

Latest headlines in Reigate and Banstead

Cllr Brunt, and his new deputy leader, Horley councillor Graham Knight, are both active on Twitter, something their predecessors – Cllr Broad and his deputy, Dr Lynne Hack, councillor for Banstead Village – are not.

“It is something I wanted to do previously and I am looking forward to the opportunity,” Cllr Brunt said of his forthcoming appointment.

“Obviously I have been a councillor for the last 14 years so I am one of the more experienced and longer-standing members. And having chaired the planning committee for six years, that is probably a very good place to learn, so I am looking forward to it.”

Mark Brunt

He declined to give full detail of his leadership agenda until he is officially voted in, but said: “I will be carrying on the work of my predecessors – both Vic and before him Joan Spiers – in running the council responsibly but I will certainly bring my own style and approach.”

He is more “proactive” when it comes to social media, he said, which will be a key difference in how he engages with the council’s thousands of residents.

“Certainly, as leader I will want to be more active in that medium because, no matter how good you think you are as a council, you have to get your message across to individual residents and social media is a very good way of doing that.

“I would like to feel that residents would be able to contact me directly about issues that concern them so I am better able to highlight those and try and deal with those. I want to be more approachable as leader; I want the leader to be more approachable, directly by residents, and social media is a good way to do that.”

Cllr Broad decided to stand down, and was not pushed, he said, telling Get Surrey he no longer wanted to do the “24-hour” job.

“I have had enough, I have done my bit,” he said.

“Sometimes you think, ‘I just don’t want to go on any more’, it is as simple as that. It takes over your life really, so I am happy to step aside.”

He indicated other reasons had made him decide to go, but said he left with no antagonism and still held the confidence of fellow councillors.

Article courtesy of Get Surrey