Councillor Ann-Marie Barker has been formally elected Leader of Woking Borough Council, as the new Liberal Democrat administration officially took office during last night’s annual meeting of Council (Monday 23 May 2022).
Following the outcome of the local borough election on Thursday 5 May 2022, the Liberal Democrats gained control of Woking Borough Council with a total of 16 of the 30 seats, compared with eight seats for the Conservatives, three seats for Labour and three seats for the Independents.
Cllr Barker was first elected to the Council in 2004 and has represented Goldsworth Park ward since 2016. She has served on numerous committees and working groups, including the Climate Change Working Group, Economic Development Task Group, Finance Task Group, Overview and Scrutiny and Victoria Square Oversight Panel.
Cllr Barker, Leader of Woking Borough Council, said: “I am proud and honoured to have been elected Leader of Woking Borough Council. I would like to thank all residents who made their voices heard during the recent local election.
“We have ambitious plans for the borough, which are reflected in my priorities for the year ahead. Under my leadership, the Council will focus on financial responsibility, it will deliver a masterplan for Woking town centre and ensure our borough tackles climate change by becoming carbon neutral.”
“We will continue to push for positive change that benefits local residents and transform Woking for the good.”
During her speech to Council, Cllr Barker set out plans for improved governance of Council companies, an open and transparent approach, a fresh look at parking charges and a local economy fit for the future. She also confirmed a commitment to review the Victoria Arch widening scheme, push for completion of Victoria Place and provide as much affordable housing as possible.
At the meeting, appointments to the new administration’s Executive were also confirmed, along with their responsibilities:
- Leader – Cllr Ann-Marie Barker
Responsibilities: partnerships, strategic infrastructure, communications and engagement, stronger neighbourhoods, corporate strategy and policy, democratic and civic functions, corporate employer and governance.
- Deputy Leader – Cllr Will Forster
Responsibilities: key projects, voluntary sector, corporate transformation, digital services and ICT and customer experience.
- Portfolio Holder for Economic Development and Finance – Cllr Dale Roberts
Responsibilities: corporate financial planning and policy, regeneration and town centre, asset management, economic development, parking services, housing benefit and council tax support and revenue collection.
- Portfolio Holder for Greener Woking – Cllr Rob Leach
Responsibilities: climate change, environment and sustainability, flood risk management, environmental maintenance, waste and recycling and active travel.
- Portfolio Holder for Housing – Cllr Ian Johnson
Responsibilities: housing needs, homelessness, housing register, private rented sector, landlord services, housing asset management and affordable housing provision.
- Portfolio Holder for Living Well – Cllr Ellen Nicholson
Responsibilities: cultural and community development, leisure, green spaces and play, health and wellbeing, community safety, centres for the community, accessibility and inclusion, independent living and extra care, community meals, family support and refugee support.
- Portfolio Holder for Planning and Regulation – Cllr Liam Lyons
Responsibilities: planning implementation, masterplan, planning policy, building control, local land charges, licensing, taxi and private hire, environmental control, food and health and safety.