max temp: 15°C

min temp: 11°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Suffolk: Former interim leader backs leadership challenge

11:13 01 April 2014

Jane Storey.

Jane Storey.

A leading west Suffolk councillor has thrown her weight behind a shock bid to replace Suffolk County Council leader Mark Bee.


Jane Storey, who represents Woolpit, has given her backing to Row Heath councillor Colin Noble, who is challenging Conservative colleague Mr Bee for leadership of the authority.

Mrs Storey led the council from the resignation of Jeremy Pembroke at the end of March 2011 until Mr Bee was confirmed as leader at the authority’s annual meeting at the end of May that year.

She was deputy leader until stepping down from the cabinet after last May’s elections – and said that cabinet member for finance Mr Noble would offer the council a new direction.

She said: “I have nothing against Mark. He was the right person when Jeremy stood down and we needed to bring stability to the authority.”

However, she said things had changed in the last three years and that she felt Mr Noble now offered a better option for the council going into the future.

Mrs Storey felt it seemed that council policy was being written by officers and that councillors were increasingly feeling cut out of the decision-making process.

Mr Noble was seen as a keen supporter of the New Strategic Direction which was promoted by Mr Pembroke and former chief executive Andrea Hill.

Mrs Storey said: “She (Mrs Hill) had some good ideas and some of these have matured into good policies. But she didn’t get them across to the community and the media.”

However she said that time had passed and Mr Noble offered councillors the chance to take part in real policy debates.

She also felt that he would be better placed to tackle some of the difficult issues that were facing the authority.

“We have made some changes, but there are many more tough choices ahead of us that will have to be faced – and I think Colin would be a better leader going in to face these choices.”

Current deputy leader Lisa Chambers, a keen supporter of Mr Bee, dismissed Mrs Storey’s concerns.

She said: “I don’t share Jane’s view on officers formulating policy. There are far more opportunities for backbench councillors to take part in formulating policy than there were in the past.

“After last year’s election Mark set up new locality policy meetings that give councillors from all parties to the opportunity to feed in policy suggestions.

“And there are regular meetings of Conservative backbenchers where they can come up with proposals which are discussed and can be brought forward.”

Mrs Chambers said that Mr Bee’s years as a backbench councillor before he became leader in 2011 gave him a clear insight into how important it was to involve all members in the decision-making process.

She said: “I think Mark Bee has really worked hard to involve backbench councillors and bring them into the decision-making process. I really don’t see Colin Noble as someone who could do any more to involve backbenchers.”



Police are looking for four men following an attacj in Ipswich

Police are hunting for a group of four men following an attack in Bramford Lane, Ipswich.

Accident near Hintlesham causes delays.

There are delays on the A1071 near Hintlesham following an accident involving a car and motorbike this morning.

Light aircraft crashes in Essex, killing two people.

Two people have died after a light aircraft crashed in a field in Essex.

Sharon Halls and Daniel Compton's baby, Evie

An Ipswich couple have launched a desperate online appeal to raise at least £184,000 for the care of a premature baby born 12 weeks early in the Dominican Republic.

Emergency services at the scene of the accident at Barton Mills.

The motorcyclist, 20, who died following a crash on the A1101 at Barton Mills yesterday is an airman from RAF Lakenheath.

Are you a budding young writer?

Are you a wizard with words? Does your imagination race at 100 miles an hour and keep you awake at night?

Felixstowe's Martello Tower P, in Langer Road, open as part of Felixstowe's Heritage weekend.

A project to restore a defensive fort dating back to the Napoleonic era has received a £50,000 boost from a heritage funding cash pot.

Anne Humphrys and Bec Jasper have set up PACT support group for parents and families of children with disabilities.

Huge increases in the number of children in Suffolk suffering from mental health problems were today laid bare - amid major concerns about the quality of services youngsters receive.

B&Q in Anglia Retail Park will close by 2017.

Home improvement giant B&Q is set to close one of its biggest Suffolk stores - at Anglia Retail Park on the edge of Ipswich, it can be revealed.

The Nestle Purina site in Sudbury

A Sudbury pet food factory is under increasing pressure to tackle foul odours as it is revealed an environmental regulator recorded 40 stench complaints since last month.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages