THE new chairwoman of Heytesbury, Imber & Knook Parish Council is pleading with councillors and residents to conduct “respectful debates” at meetings.

Cllr Vanessa Sturmey was elected chair at the parish council’s annual meeting on Tuesday (May 24). Her vice-chair is Cllr Karen Riggs.

Cllr Sturmey said: "I have been a member of the joint parish council for 16 years and chair for five years of the Outside Space Working Group (OSWG) and Future Planning Working Group (FPWG) formed last year.

“It's important that all members have an opportunity to speak on agenda items and be listened to, I hope my approach will bring a fair and respectful debate to council business.

"It doesn't matter whether you have been a councillor for 15-20 years or you are just starting out, the point is we all have something to offer the community.

“We are not afraid to put ourselves out there and speak up for others, being a good councillor there is always things to learn and new ways of looking at things.  I look forward to working with my colleagues over this coming year."

The Future Planning Working Group will soon begin a six-week consultation on its rural housing needs allocation