Conservatives elect new Group Leader

Conservative councillors have elected Cllr Tim Warren as the new Leader of the Conservative Group on Bath and North East Somerset Council.

The election for the post of Group Leader, as well as for the Group’s two Deputy Leaders, was held at a meeting of the Group last Thursday, 2nd May.

The election of a new Group Leader comes after Cllr Francine Haeberling chose to step down from the role having served in the position for over eleven years.

At the meeting, experienced Keynsham councillor Charles Gerrish and Bath councillor Patrick Anketell-Jones were also chosen as the Group’s two Deputy Leaders.

First elected to represent Mendip ward in 2003, Councillor Warren has served as Deputy Leader of the Conservative Group and Shadow Cabinet Member for Transport since 2011. Commenting on his election as Group Leader, Cllr Tim Warren said:

“It’s a great honour to be chosen as the Leader of the Conservative Group here in Bath and North East Somerset and I’m really looking forward to taking on this challenge.

“We’ve got a really talented group of councillors who are dedicated to improving our local area and standing up for our local communities throughout the district. We will obviously be looking towards the next local elections with a view to increasing Conservative representation throughout the area. My aim will be to present a positive vision for our area whilst at the same time holding the Council’s Liberal Democrat administration to account.

“In particular, I want the Conservative Group to find innovative ways of meeting the challenges currently facing the authority, such as how to grow our local economy and create new jobs, how to improve the Council’s finances and get better value for money for Council Tax payers, and finding ways to improve local transport.”

Councillor Francine Haeberling was first elected to represent Saltford ward on Bath and North East Somerset Council in 1996 when the authority was formed following the break-up of the former Avon County Council.

In her time as Group Leader, Cllr Haeberling served as Deputy Leader of Council and Cabinet Member for Adult Social Services under the joint Liberal Democrat-Conservative administration between 2003 and 2007, and as Leader of Council during the Conservative administration between 2007 and 2011.

Cllr Haeberling said:

“It has been a real privilege to lead the Conservative Group over these many years, and I’m really proud of what we have achieved in this time. I’m especially proud of what we achieved in improving the financial management of the Council, resolving the Bath Spa debacle, and putting the issue of transport firmly on the Council’s agenda.

“But it is now time to look to the future and I wish Councillor Warren the very best of luck in taking on this role. I will look forward to continuing to represent the residents of Saltford on the Council.”