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Edward Heron takes on NFDC leadership role

CLLR Edward Heron has been elected the new leader of New Forest District Council.

The Conservative member for the Downland and Forest ward was voted into the role at the authority's latest meeting and his first action was to name a new eight-strong cabinet.

He was the long-time deputy to Cllr Barry Rickman, who recently resigned after being convicted of breaking environmental regulations at a scrapyard he co-owns in Sway.

Accepting the role, Cllr Heron paid tribute to Cllr Rickman, saying: "He has provided excellent leadership for the past 12 years."

Appletree Court in Lyndhurst New Forest District Council NFDC HQ (46113150)
Appletree Court in Lyndhurst New Forest District Council NFDC HQ (46113150)

As well as now being leader of NFDC, Cllr Heron, who lives in Ringwood, is also a verderer, a member of Hampshire County Council's ruling cabinet and sits on the board of the New Forest National Park Authority.

In Cllr Heron's cabinet reshuffle Cllr Alison Hoare lost the environment portfolio which was given to Cllr Steve Davies, and altered to cover the environment and coastal services.

Taking the eighth spot on the cabinet left by Cllr Rickman was Cllr David Russell, whose brief covers people and places.

The people in the other six cabinet roles remain unchanged. However, the portfolios they manage have been re-named and some have been given extra responsibilities.

As deputy leader, Cllr Edward Heron previously held the planning brief but that has been switched to Cllr Diane Andrews under the post of planning, regeneration and infrastructure.

Cllr Jill Cleary was named deputy leader and also given the responsibility for the housing and homeless services portfolio.

Cllr Michael Harris's brief is now business, tourism and high streets, while Cllr Jeremy Heron holds the finance and investment brief and Cllr Mark Steel is the member for partnership and wellbeing.

As reported in the A&T Cllr Rickman resigned after pleading guilty at Southampton Magistrates' Court to a charge of flouting environmental regulations.

The matter concerned the state of Rickman's Scrapyard in Sway, which Cllr Rickman co-owns with his brother, Robert, who runs the site on a day-to-day basis and also admitted a related charge. The pair were given six months by district judge to "make the site good" before sentencing.

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