New Leader appointed for South Somerset District Council

Val Keitch has been elected as the new Leader of South Somerset District Council.

Her appointment, which will come into effect from 1 September 2018, was confirmed at a meeting of Full Council on Thursday 19 July as Cllr Ric Pallister, who has served as Leader for the past seven years steps down.

Cllr Keitch, the Liberal Democrat representative for Ilminster Town and Area West chairman, thanked her fellow members for their confidence in her and expressed her thanks to Councillor Ric Pallister for his leadership of the Council.

She said: "He has led the council with distinction and in very difficult times. I think this council owes him a great deal of gratitude."

She added: "The Council in line with all local authorities is facing very challenging times, I look forward to working with all councillors and staff to ensure that we continue on the path we have set for facing those financial challenges. South Somerset has been a leading authority and respected in local government circles I would intend to work across the Council to ensure that remains the case. I feel privileged to have been selected to lead the authority."

Councillors Mike Lewis, Dave Bulmer, Martin Wale and Sue Steele congratulated the new Leader of Council and paid tribute to Councillor Ric Pallister for his leadership of SSDC and representation of the Council at a national level.

Cllr Pallister, who has been the district councillor for the Parrett ward for 19 years confirmed in June that he would not be seeking re-election in May 2019 as he hoped to "encourage the next generation with fresh drive, energy and ideas to continue the really worthwhile role of representing the people of South Somerset".

Cllr Mike Lewis, Conservative Leader at South Somerset District Council, said: "I really want to say thank you to Ric. Ric has treated us in the Conservative group with respect and involved us in the decisions he's had to make on a range of important issues. It's not just locally that he has made his mark but he has represented this council on the national stage and the significance of the work he has overseen cannot be underestimated."

Val Keitch

Above: Cllr Val Keitch