New leadership team announced at Devon County Council

Devon County Council’s new leadership team has been announced.

James McInnes was voted in as leader at the authority’s annual meeting today. Andrea Davis is the new deputy leader.

Mr McInnes replaces John Hart who became chairman of the council at the same meeting.

Mr McInnes, who was deputy leader under Mr Hart, represents Hatherleigh and Chagford and is a retired farmer from West Devon. He is married with a daughter.

He was first elected to the county council in 2005 and has been chairman of planning and cabinet member for children’s services and education and adult social care and health. He is a former leader of West Devon Borough Council.

Mr McInnes said: “I want to thank John for his years of service to Devon and it is a privilege to follow him as leader.

“It is very important to have continuity as the authority is facing so many changes following the pandemic.”

Mr McInnes confirmed that he was retaining all the current Cabinet members in their existing roles. He has picked Newton Abbot North councillor Phil Bullivant to take on his former role as the portfolio holder for adult social care and health.

Mr McInnes said: “It is vital that we continue the modernisation of the council that is already under way. The world is changing fast and we need to change to deliver the services that the people of Devon need and deserve in the most appropriate way possible.

“Our finances have been very tight this year but we have managed to find an extra £12m for potholes, road repairs and drainage. That clearly won’t solve everything but it gives an indication of how important this issue is to us.”

Andrea Davis has represented Combe Martin Rural since 2005. She is the Cabinet member for climate change, environment and transport and will retain that portfolio as deputy leader. She chairs Exmoor National Park and Peninsula Transport and has previously held the Cabinet portfolios for children and education and health and wellbeing.

She is married with three sons.

Andrea Davis also paid tribute to John Hart.

“He’s done such a good job for Devon,” she said. “We want to continue what he’s achieved.

“One of my priorities will be to get the upper tier authorities in the South West to work ever closer together as a region on transport.

“We’re up against the North and other big regions and we are a sparsely-populated peninsula. But we need to focus on what’s needed for this region to succeed and campaign for that with one voice.”


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