Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 11°C

min temp: 5°C


Suffolk: Former interim leader backs leadership challenge

11:13 01 April 2014

Jane Storey.

Jane Storey.

A leading west Suffolk councillor has thrown her weight behind a shock bid to replace Suffolk County Council leader Mark Bee.


Jane Storey, who represents Woolpit, has given her backing to Row Heath councillor Colin Noble, who is challenging Conservative colleague Mr Bee for leadership of the authority.

Mrs Storey led the council from the resignation of Jeremy Pembroke at the end of March 2011 until Mr Bee was confirmed as leader at the authority’s annual meeting at the end of May that year.

She was deputy leader until stepping down from the cabinet after last May’s elections – and said that cabinet member for finance Mr Noble would offer the council a new direction.

She said: “I have nothing against Mark. He was the right person when Jeremy stood down and we needed to bring stability to the authority.”

However, she said things had changed in the last three years and that she felt Mr Noble now offered a better option for the council going into the future.

Mrs Storey felt it seemed that council policy was being written by officers and that councillors were increasingly feeling cut out of the decision-making process.

Mr Noble was seen as a keen supporter of the New Strategic Direction which was promoted by Mr Pembroke and former chief executive Andrea Hill.

Mrs Storey said: “She (Mrs Hill) had some good ideas and some of these have matured into good policies. But she didn’t get them across to the community and the media.”

However she said that time had passed and Mr Noble offered councillors the chance to take part in real policy debates.

She also felt that he would be better placed to tackle some of the difficult issues that were facing the authority.

“We have made some changes, but there are many more tough choices ahead of us that will have to be faced – and I think Colin would be a better leader going in to face these choices.”

Current deputy leader Lisa Chambers, a keen supporter of Mr Bee, dismissed Mrs Storey’s concerns.

She said: “I don’t share Jane’s view on officers formulating policy. There are far more opportunities for backbench councillors to take part in formulating policy than there were in the past.

“After last year’s election Mark set up new locality policy meetings that give councillors from all parties to the opportunity to feed in policy suggestions.

“And there are regular meetings of Conservative backbenchers where they can come up with proposals which are discussed and can be brought forward.”

Mrs Chambers said that Mr Bee’s years as a backbench councillor before he became leader in 2011 gave him a clear insight into how important it was to involve all members in the decision-making process.

She said: “I think Mark Bee has really worked hard to involve backbench councillors and bring them into the decision-making process. I really don’t see Colin Noble as someone who could do any more to involve backbenchers.”



Former Ipswich Town manager Sir Bobby Robson

An online auction launched in memory of Ipswich Town and England legend Sir Bobby Robson has raised more than £160,000 for charity.

Bad weather in Felixstowe.

Properties are at risk from flooding at Bawdsey Quay and Felixstowe Ferry, the Environment Agency has warned.

Ipswich Crown Court.

A 67-year-old west Suffolk garage owner who sexually assaulted and raped three schoolgirls more than 25 years ago has been jailed for 19 years.

Some of the UCS Choir members who will be appearing on Songs of Praise on television

University Campus Suffolk’s new choir is to appear on BBC Songs of Praise

Felixstowe mayor Doreen Savage switches on the lights helped by Elise Gorski, Peggy Osborne, and Ash and Lila Tadjrishi.

It’s a problem faced by millions of families across the country every year.

The close-knit Smith family in 2006: Matt, Wendy, Nikki and Barry

It can be upsetting and lonely having a child with a disability, but Wendy Smith would rather shout about the many positives. Steven Russell hears how love and kindness trumps any anger and bitterness

Domestic violence reports increase

Domestic violence reports soared by 12% in Suffolk last year with more than 2,000 recorded incidents involving male victims, police have said.

Woman conned by bogus caller (Stock photo)

A Hadleigh woman who lost £2,500 in a police scam has warned others to be alert to the crime.

Members of the nursing team at Ipswich Hospital.

Carers and visitors of people being looked after at Ipswich Hospital will next month be able to spend more time with patients as new extended visiting hours are introduced.

She was last seen in the area of Downside Close in Ipswich.

A woman reported missing to police on Saturday has been found safe and well following a public appeal.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages

Local business directory

Suffolk's trusted business finder

Property search

e.g. Oxford or NW3
Powered by Zoopla

Digital Edition

Read the Ipswich Star e-edition today E-edition

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24