County council leader stepping down after 14 years

Coun John Weighell is standing down as Leader of North Yorkshire County Council with effect from May 20 but will continue as a councillor.
Coun John Weighell is standing down as Leader of North Yorkshire County Council with effect from May 20 but will continue as a councillor.

Members of North Yorkshire County Council are set to elect a new Leader following a decision by Coun John Weighell to step down from the post.

Coun Weighell, who represents the Bedale division, has been Leader of the Conservative Group and Leader of the Council for almost 14 years.

The Conservative group will elect his successor at its annual meeting taking place on Wednesday, May 13.

Coun Weighell, who took up the role in 2001, will resign as Leader of the council with effect from the quarterly meeting of the authority, to be held on May 20. Members of the full council will be invited to appoint his successor at that meeting.

However, Coun Weighell will not be resigning his seat and has pledged to stay and support the new Leader and Executive “in any way I am able”. He said: “I have particularly enjoyed representing the interests of a diverse county regionally and nationally, advocating policies for our coast, market towns and rural areas.

“This needs to continue, as there can be too much focus on cities and not enough understanding of the needs of rural areas or the opportunities for devolution to counties.”

He added: “As money for all councils becomes even scarcer, I hope we carry on looking for efficiencies, including merging the county council and district councils to form a single council.

“That would save money for the council tax payer and help to protect services.”