Tory council leader sets out his priorities for a bright future

Outgoing leader Stuart Hirst
Outgoing leader Stuart Hirst

Finalising a plan for the Clitheroe Market, which will leave a legacy to future generations, is among the key priorities of the new leader of Ribble Valley Borough Council.

Coun. Ken Hind was installed as leader at the council’s annual meeting on Tuesday evening, taking over from Coun. Stuart Hirst, who held the position for the last four years.

New Ribble Valley council leader Ken Hind

New Ribble Valley council leader Ken Hind

In accepting leadership, the father-of-three, who is married to fellow councillor Sue, set out his priorities for the forthcoming year.

He said: “Economic development will be our priority for the immediate future.

“We have been required by successive governments to grant planning permission for new homes to meet the needs of an increasing population in the country.

“By 2028 there will be a minimum of 5,600 new homes in the Ribble Valley, with an estimated increased population of about 12,500.

“We, therefore, need to set our priorities to maintain and increase income from business rates and provide jobs for our increased population so that the Ribble Valley becomes an sustainable community.

“The second priority is to finalise a plan for the Clitheroe Market.

“We have listened to the public through the wide consultation and will bear in mind all that has been said.”

Health of the public of the Ribble Valley is Coun. Hind’s third priority as he takes office.

Outgoing leader Stuart Hirst said: “It has been a privilege and an honour to serve my borough for the last four years and in now standing down, I would offer my successor my congratulations and good wishes as he takes on the responsibilities of the office.

“Leading Ribble Valley has been an experience which I shall always value; challenging – of course, but immensely rewarding and enjoyable.

“By any standards Ribble Valley is a high performing authority with a record of solid achievement on which to build for the future.

“That success has undoubtedly been built upon the bedrock principle of sound financial planning.”