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Gloucestershire Business News

'I have huge shoes to fill' says new leader of Gloucester City Council

Richard Cook knows he has huge shoes to fill in his new role as leader of Gloucester City Council.

Councillor Cook last night received the nomination from the ruling Conservative group to replace Cllr James who is standing down next week after 12 years as leader.

The cabinet member for the environment who is councillor for the Kingsay ward said he was daunted as well as excited to take on the role.

"Both Paul and I take size nine shoes, but his will be huge ones to fill," Cllr Cook said.

"It was an honour to be elected by my fellow councillors to serve, but it is going to be difficult to take over from Paul, given the wonderful job he has done for Gloucester.

"When I was first asked I was scared to death, and I am still a little bit now. But I am excited to do the role as well and have a chance to do my bit for the city of Gloucester."

Cllr Cook is originally from the North West and has lived all over the country, before settling in Gloucester six-and-a-half years ago.

He appreciates the huge amounts of work that has been done to transform the city before and during his time in Gloucestershire and is relishing the chance to play his part in what comes next.

Having spent time as the cabinet member for the environment, he is also keen to look into how the council and city can do more to combat climate change.

"I have no hesitation in saying that of all the places I have lived in this country, Gloucester is the one I have liked the best," Cllr Cook said.

"There is so much good that has happened and is happening in the city and we have to maintain that momentum.

"But I also have my own ideas, especially around the environment and I want to change direction on certain things.

"But most of all I want to carry on Paul's great work. He has been on the council for 24 years and leader for 12 and so much good has happened in that time.

"When you think he took over shortly before the great floods in 2007 and what the city has become since.

"My only worry is that with all the rain that has fallen, the river is running very deep at the moment and I hope there isn't going to be a repeat."

Cllr Cook's nomination by the Conservative Group will be the subject of formal approval by the City Council at their meeting on Thursday.

Cllr James and his deputy Jennie Watkins are both stepping down at that meeting but will remain on the council until the end of their term and the local authority elections in May 2020.

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