East Cambs Council to face the challenge of finding a new leader - and Cambs Mayor James Palmer a new deputy - after Charles Roberts stands down

Mayor James Palmer said that the site would be “refurbished, revamped” as he welcomed plans for the

Mayor James Palmer said that the site would be “refurbished, revamped” as he welcomed plans for the derelict site. Here he is pictured with leader of East Cambs District Council Cllr Charles Roberts. Picture: JAMES PALMER OFFICE - Credit: Archant

A new face – expected to be that of Anna Bailey – will take the helm at East Cambridgeshire District Council in May if Conservatives retain control after the local elections.

He or she will take over from Councillor Charles Roberts who revealed last week he will be standing down after only two years in charge.

Cllr Roberts, said: “It has been an absolute pleasure to lead this council and be part of some monumental moments for the organisation.

“We are a can-do council that not only delivers for our residents but does it whilst balancing the books. It has always been my ambition not to raise council tax, car park or other fees and charges unless absolutely necessary and it should always be the last resort rather than the first.

“Over the past eight years, I have been part of a team that is committed to making the district a better place and I am confident that this will continue.”

Cllr Roberts will also give up his role as deputy mayor of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority where he has served as number two to Mayor James Palmer.

It will also mean stepping down from a myriad of committees within the combined authority and also resigning as a director of both of East Cambs Council’s arms length trading companies.

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Cllr Roberts is expected to retain his interests with the Stretham and Wilburton Community Land Trust – he has been a guiding force and major advocate of developing community led developments.

Cllr Roberts has been council leader since May 2017 and councillor for the ward of Stretham since 2011.

A council spokesman said: “Since he became leader for East Cambridgeshire District Council, the organisation has made many strides to make the district a great place to live work and visit.

“This includes the council improving its waste provision by delivering the service through the council’s trading arm, East Cambs Street Scene, the opening of the Hive leisure centre in Ely, as well as a royal visit to the district by HRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall.

“Cllr Roberts has also led the council into its sixth year of freezing council tax for its residents.”

John Hill, the council’s chief executive, said: “Charles has been an outstanding leader who has championed this council since his election in 2011.

“His ambition and passion has made him the talisman for community-led housing in the district and he has steered the council’s trading arm to deliver much needed homes for local people.

“It has been honour to work with him and we wish him all the best in his future endeavours.”