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By-election for Bransgore and Burley as Cllr Geoffrey Blunden appointed to New Forest District Council ruling cabinet after Mark Steele resignation

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THE ruling cabinet on New Forest District Council has a new member – Cllr Geoffrey Blunden – after a resignation following a row.

Cllr Blunden has been given the partnering and wellbeing portfolio by NFDC leader Cllr Edward Heron.

He replaces Mark Steele – who resigned not just from the cabinet but the council. He had been the member for the Bransgore and Burley district ward.

Cllr Geoffrey Blunden
Cllr Geoffrey Blunden

Cllr Blunden, who is ward member for Becton and has served on NFDC since 2015, has health and wellbeing, environmental health, CCTV, and community safety within the portfolio.

"The health, safety and wellbeing of our residents has never been more important and I am looking forward to being able to make a positive contribution in my new role," he said.

Cllr Blunden was the chairman of the community, partnerships and wellbeing overview and scrutiny panel but will leave that role to take up his position as a cabinet member.

Cllr Mark Steele
Cllr Mark Steele

As reported in the A&T, Cllr Mark Steele said he had been threatened by Cllr Edward Heron with expulsion if he refused to back a plan to axe former leader Cllr Barry Rickman from the national park authority (NPA) after he was convicted of flouting environmental regulations.

Cllr Steele lodged a complaint accusing Cllr Heron of breaching the councillors' code of conduct by "seeking to coerce his vote", but the council's monitoring team ruled that as the leader of the council, Cllr Heron was "entitled to expect cabinet colleagues to support their decisions".

Expressing "disappointment" over the decision, Cllr Steele told the A&T his position had become "untenable" and that he was stepping down as councillor.

There will be a a by-election for the Bransgore and Burley Ward
There will be a a by-election for the Bransgore and Burley Ward

Cllr Steele’s departure as a councillor means a by-election will be held in his former district seat.

NFDC added the notice of vacancy for the Bransgore and Burley District Ward has been published at https://newforest.gov.uk/article/1590/Notices-of-vacancy-2021

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