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New leader appointed at Wyre Forest District Council

Councillor Helen Dyke was voted the new leader of Wyre Forest District Council at its full council meeting last night (Wednesday 12 May).

Her appointment followed Councillor Graham Ballinger’s announcement in February 2021, that he would be stepping down from the role at the end of the municipal year.

Councillor Dyke is the third woman in the council’s history to take on the Leadership. The first was Jane Bonnick who led the council from 1994 until 1996. When she decided to step down in 1996 she encouraged Helen to stand for election for her seat in Aggborough and Spennells. 25 years later Councillor Dyke is still representing the electorate in this ward.

The only other woman to lead the council was Elizabeth Davies in 2002.

Councillor Dyke was appointed deputy leader in January, having been on the Cabinet since May 2019 when the Progressive Alliance administration was formed. She has been a Cabinet member previously and held other senior positions on the council, including chairing the Overview and Scrutiny committee.

The Cabinet members will remain unchanged. They are Councillor Nicky Martin as Cabinet Member for Housing, Health, Wellbeing and Democratic Services, Councillor John Thomas as Cabinet Member for Operational Services, Councillor Mary Rayner as Cabinet Member for Finance and Capital Portfolio and Councillor Graham Ballinger as Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Community Safety. He will also take on the role as Deputy Leader.

She said:

“This is a really exciting time to be Leader of the council. I know it’s going to be a challenge, but one I’m looking forward to and I am up for!

Those who know me know I’m passionate about our town centres and supporting a successful local economy is one of the council’s priorities. We are also focussing on creating a safe, clean and green living environment in the district.  Our localism agenda is going well too, bringing services closer to communities.

I would like to thank Councillor Ballinger for all he has done in leading the council over the past two years and I look forward to continue to work with him as a member of my Cabinet.“

Councillor Graham Ballinger said:

“It has been a great honour to have served as Leader of the District Council for the past two years.  This was the second time I have undertaken the role and it is something I am very proud of. So much has changed during my time as Leader and the ongoing pandemic has meant that all of us have had to adapt to a very different way of working. The council has made great progress during this time and I am very proud to have played my part.  I will continue to represent my ward constituents, be part of the Cabinet and contribute to the vital work the District Council does to support the residents in Wyre Forest. Helen has been a very active and supportive Deputy Leader and I wish her well as she takes over as Leader.”