New council leader confirmed

Last Updated: 20 May 2021

19 May 2021 

Councillor Jonathan Brook has been confirmed as the new Leader of South Lakeland District Council (SLDC).

Cllr Jonathan Brook

Councillor Brook was appointed at last night’s (Wednesday’s) Annual Council Meeting, and takes over as Leader from Councillor Giles Archibald, who has served as Leader since 2016.

Councillor Brook represents the Kendal South and Natland ward and has served as an SLDC councillor since 2006, latterly as Deputy Leader and Housing and Innovation portfolio holder.

During his time on the council he has also been a member of various committees, including Planning, Audit, Standards and Overview and Scrutiny. He was Chairman of the Council between 2008–2010 and has represented the council on outside bodies including the Lake District National Park Authority, South Lakes Housing, Cumbria Housing Group, Furness Enterprise and Cumbria Rural Enterprise Agency.

As well as the role of Leader, Councillor Brook will also take on the portfolio duties for Innovation and Promoting South Lakeland.

Councillor Brook said: “I am hugely grateful and honoured to have the opportunity to represent the council in the role of Leader. I look forward to working with you all as we seek to build a sustainable and inclusive future for our residents and communities across our large, varied and wonderful district.”

Councillor Brook paid tribute to outgoing Leader Councillor Archibald, describing him as “a hardworking, principled and insightful Leader, who has led the council through many difficult, diverse and unique challenges.”

Councillor Archibald said it had been a “huge privilege’’ to serve as Leader, citing partnership working on new playgrounds, the roll-out of expanded kerbside recycling, delivering new affordable homes, taking action to tackle climate change and biodiversity loss and undertaking the Customer Connect transformation programme as among the council’s most significant achievements during his time as Leader.

Councillor Archibald added: “I want to express my enormous thanks to fellow councillors and to the officers and council staff, who have worked extraordinarily well and hard during the Covid-19 crisis to tackle its effects, help to protect the vulnerable, support businesses, assist with local track and trace, and at the same time maintain essential services. I have nothing but admiration for the way they have worked.”

Councillor Archibald will continue to serve as a councillor, representing Kendal Town ward.

Elsewhere on the new-look Cabinet, Windermere Councillor Andrew Jarvis becomes Deputy Leader while retaining the Finance and Assets portfolio, while Arnside and Milnthorpe Councillor Helen Chaffey joins the Cabinet to take on the Housing portfolio.

The full Cabinet is:

Leader and Promoting South Lakeland and Innovation portfolio: Councillor Jonathan Brook

Deputy Leader and Finance and Assets portfolio: Councillor Andrew Jarvis

Housing Portfolio: Councillor Helen Chaffey

Economy, Culture and Leisure portfolio: Councillor Robin Ashcroft

Climate Action and Biodiversity portfolio: Councillor Dyan Jones

Health, Wellbeing and Poverty Alleviation portfolio: Councillor Suzie Pye

Customer and Locality Services portfolio: Councillor Philip Dixon

Councillor Tom Harvey, Leader of the Conservative Group, confirmed that, along with himself, Councillors John Holmes, Roger Bingham, Pat Bell, Helen Irving, Kevin Holmes and Janette Jenkinson would comprise the new Shadow Cabinet, with shadow portfolio roles to be allocated.

Councillor David Webster has been selected as the new Leader of the Labour Group, succeeding fellow Ulverston East Councillor Mark Wilson.

At the Annual Meeting Councillor Pete McSweeney was also elected as Chairman of the Council and Councillor Matt Severn was elected as Vice-Chairman.