The new leader of Bromley council has been announced
PUBLISHED: 09:44 26 September 2017 | UPDATED: 09:31 29 September 2017
Stephen Carr stood down after 14 years last week
The new leader of Bromley council has come under immediate scrutiny from his opposition, just days after his appointment.
On Monday, a meeting of the council saw Colin Smith, Bickley ward councillor, appointed as the new leader, following Stephen Carr’s resignation on September 15.
Stepping into the former deputy leader’s shoes will be Peter Fortune, while councillor William Huntington-Thresher will become portfolio holder for environment in place of the new leader.
Speaking after his appointment, Cllr Smith paid tribute to his predecessor, adding: “Being elected to this post is a very deep honour which I shall never lose sight of and also represents the ultimate challenge for a borough councillor.
“It is a challenge, which along with my strong team of talented colleagues, I look forward to tackling and surpassing over the coming months and beyond.
“Bromley is already a great place to live, work, relax and do business in; together we can and will make it even better still.”
Labour councillors voted against Cllr Smith’s appointment, with group leader Angela Wilkins criticising alleged “failures” by Cllr Smith during his time as portfolio holder for environment.
Cllr Wilkins was referring to 15 ‘priority one’ recommendations surrounding the council’s waste services made after the council carried out its own internal audit last year.
She also referenced the council spending £60,000 resurfacing a private road, which councils do not own, in Beckenham.
She said: “I am staggered that Bromley Tories are happy to give this powerful role to someone who has been responsible for overseeing such failures. When you read the audit reports, it’s no wonder our streets aren’t cleaned and our bins aren’t emptied properly.
“Cllr Smith described our concerns, all of which are a matter of plain fact, as ‘ongoing diatribe of nonsense’. Makes me wonder whether he has a touch of Trump-itis.”
Responding to concerns, Cllr Smith stressed internal audits allow the council to address any issues, adding: “I have far too many positive things to concentrate on rather than be distracted by Cllr Wilkins’ incessant negativity.
“If she does wish to go American, I would simply respond her claims are #fakenews.”
Cllr Smith has previously admitted the work on Elwill Way in Beckenham was a mistake on behalf of the council’s highways team.