The new leader at Tendring District Council has challenged bosses at Harwich International Port to help ‘unlock the economic potential’ of the town.

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Tory veteran, Mick Page, was chosen at a meeting of the council on Tuesday night - 23 years after he last held the post - and immediately outlined some initiatives he would like the authority to pursue during his tenure. He said he wanted to support the growth of the renewable industry in Harwich, boost business development across the district and improve education and skills training.

Mr Page, who represents the Homelands Ward in Walton, is also a deputy cabinet member at Essex County Council. In addition, on Tuesday he took on the post of cabinet member for regeneration, inward investment and asset management at Tendring Council.

He said he recognised that local government has changed significantly since he was last leader in 1991 .

“The new environment has not only put more pressure on councils but also given us significant opportunities,” he said.

“For example the new coast protection scheme for Clacton to Holland-on-Sea has come together despite a lack of public funding but through partners working together more closely.”

Mr Page also laid down a challenge to Harwich International Port. He said the Tendring and Harwich community have supported the port’s plans, which so far have not come to fruition. He said he wants to see a new job created at the council that has a full-time focus on Harwich.

He said: “I am now asking them to repay that trust and faith by coming out of their offices and meeting with us to accelerate the growth of the Harwich area including exploiting the opportunities now of the renewable energy industry.”

“I want to take forward the challenge with them to unlock the economic potential of the Harwich area. I want to work closely with Harwich International Port and any other partners to accelerate the growth of Harwich and the Tendring area,” added Mr Page, who takes over as leader from councillor Paul Honeywood, who took on the post of interim leader following the resignation of former leader Peter Halliday in December.

Other ideas he put forward include creating a job post focussed on supporting business development across Tendring and reviewing the workings of the how the council’s Big Society Fund, so it is more accessible to community groups.

There will also be strong focus on community safety and crime under Mr Page.

As part of this the council will pay for three new Police Community Support Officers to be employed by Essex Police for the next two years.

One of these will focus on Clacton, one on Tendring Council’s own housing estates and one will be deployed wherever they are needed most in the rest of Tendring.

Council officers have also been asked to bring forward proposals to the next cabinet meeting to establish a new Overview and Scrutiny Committee with a focus on education and skills in Tendring.

Included in this will be two non-voting seats on the new committee for local partners.

There is also a change in the pipeline to cabinet arrangements for opposition group leaders. The aim is that in future those group leaders and their deputies will be invited to formal cabinet meetings and their views be recorded in the minutes.

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