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New Cabinet councillor welcomed

Photo of Councillor Stephen Gauntlett

The Leader of Lewes District Council has welcomed a new councillor colleague to the Co-operative Alliance Cabinet.

Councillor Stephen Gauntlett is taking over the Planning and Infrastructure portfolio, from Councillor Emily O’Brien.  With over a decade of experience in local government, including three years as Chairman of the Council, Stephen will focus on overseeing the work to prepare the district’s new Local Plan.

Councillor Zoe Nicholson, Leader of the Council, said: “I would firstly like to thank Emily for the passion, energy and enthusiasm she brought to the planning agenda since the Co-operative Alliance took control of the council in 2019.

“Emily cares very deeply about our journey to carbon net zero by 2030 and worked tirelessly to ensure that a far greater emphasis is placed on sustainability and biodiversity in all future developments in the district.  To this end, she recently brought forward changes in the planning application process that achieve exactly that, leaving developers in no doubt about their responsibilities and duties if they are to achieve a planning consent in the Lewes district.

“Stephen brings a wealth of experience and calm authority to the Cabinet and I look forward to working with him.  Stephen is the right person to ensure our shared values and clear focus on the importance of sustainability remains central to this fundamental area of council policy.”

In July, Lewes District Council launched the first stage of public consultation on the new Lewes District Local Plan.  The feedback will inform the draft Local Plan which will be consulted on later in the process.

Councillor Gauntlett said: “I am delighted to be joining Cabinet at such an important point in the council timetable, particularly where the preparation of the new Local Plan is concerned.

“I thoroughly enjoyed my term as Chairman of the Council and now feel fully recharged and ready to take on this critically important frontline role. 

“I would also like to thank Emily for the great work she did and I certainly hope to continue with the same tenacity that she brought to Cabinet.”Councillor O’Brien is looking for forward to having more time to focus on her national campaigning work. She said: “People will know how determined I am to work increasingly on a national level,  challenging and influencing the government's planning agenda and campaigning for residents on these issues.

“I’m very proud of everything the Co-operative Alliance has achieved since taking control of the council in 2019 and from my own area of interest and focus, the introduction of new sustainability guidance that puts green issues at the heart of the local planning system, is an achievement that gives me particular satisfaction.”