CREATING stronger communities is the top goal for new Wiltshire Council leader Philip Whitehead, who today took the leading seat at the local authority.

Cllr Whitehead paid tribute to Cllr Jerry Wickham, who had been the main candidate to replace Jane Scott but did not run for due to illness.

Cllr Richard Clewer will now become deputy leader of the council.

Speaking in front of full council Cllr Whitehead named his new cabinet which sees Cllr Allison Bucknell and Cllr Ian Blair-Pilling join the team.

Children’s Services will now be overseen by Cllr Pauline Church as former cabinet member Cllr Laura Mayes moves to look after Adult Social care.

Two further cabinet roles will be announced in September, after Cllr Whitehead confirmed he had not yet made his final decision.

Cllr Whitehead said: “I will seek to strengthen communities through Area Boards, Town and Parish Councils. I don’t think the relationship is what it should be and could be so I will seek to introduce changes to improve this.

“This will make stronger communities to protect the vulnerable. I will ensure each area of the council is performing as it should be and meeting the outcome we have set. When we do so we will celebrate and if we don’t we will restore it to where we should.

“I will maintain the openness and transparency we have seen under Jane’s leadership. We will continue to be a flagship authority not only through digitisation but ensuring our residents can see someone face to face when they need it.”

The following members were appointed to the council’s cabinet:

Councillor Richard Clewer: Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet member for Corporate Services, Heritage, Arts, Tourism, Housing and Environment

Councillor Allison Bucknell: Cabinet member for South Wiltshire Recovery, Communications, Communities, Leisure and Libraries

Councillor Pauline Church: Cabinet member for Children, Education and Skills

Councillor Laura Mayes: Cabinet member for Adult Social Care, Public Health and Public Protection

Councillor Toby Sturgis: Cabinet member for Spatial Planning, Development Management and Property

Councillor Ian Blair-Pilling: Cabinet member for ICT, Digitalisation and Operational Assets

Councillor Bridget Wayman: Cabinet member for Highways, Transport and Waste