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Gloucestershire Business News

Cotswold District Council appoints 26-year-old as its new leader

The new leader of Cotswold District Council is 26-year-old Joe Harris - a former barman who was inspired to get into politics after being the victim of a late-night assault.

Councillor Harris was first elected to serve on the district council as an 18-year-old in 2011 after he was the victim of an attack in Cirencester.

That occurred in sight of a CCTV camera but after being told that the feeds had been cut - a decision he questioned to the council.

According to his bio on his website, he felt "fobbed off" by the answer he received and when the Lib Dems approached him about standing for council, the rest he says is history.

He was then elected to serve the Cirencester Park seat. One he held in the recent local authority elections when the Liberal Democrats took control from the Conservatives.


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The annual meeting of the council was held yesterday, with the new members of the cabinet appointed.

Cllr Harris takes on the role of council leader, while Mike Evemy was appointed deputy leader and cabinet member for finance.

Nigel Robbins steps in to the role of chair of the council with Dilys Neill appointed vice chair.

Other appointments:

• Rachel Coxcoon - cabinet member for planning policy, climate change and energy
• Clive Webster - cabinet member for development management, landscape and heritage
• Andrew Doherty - cabinet member for waste flooding and environmental health
• Tony Dale - cabinet member for economic development, skills and young people
• Jenny Forde - cabinet member for health, wellbeing and public safety
• Mark Harris - cabinet member for car parks, and town and parish councils
• Lisa Spivey - cabinet member for housing and homelessness

Chairs of committees were also confirmed with Juliet Layton appointed to head the planning and licensing committee, with Ray Brassington as deputy.

Chair of the audit committee was confirmed as Patrick Coleman with Stephen Andrews taking charge of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

The new leader, who grew up in Cirencester attending Powells C of E School and Cirencester Deer Park School, says on his website he "spent endless hours" working behind the bar in the Crown in Cirencester.

On his appointment, Cllr Harris said: "It is great to see these new faces, and I have every confidence that those appointed will do a good job.

"I would also like to pay tribute to the efforts of the outgoing Leader, Cabinet Members, and Committee Chairs who deserve a huge 'thank you' for their efforts."

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