Bromsgrove District Council leader to quit role after nine years

By Tristan Harris Thursday 20 March 2014 Updated: 25/03 22:49

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BROMSGROVE District Council leader Roger Hollingworth will be quitting his role in May after nine years in charge, The Standard can reveal.

Coun Hollingworth, who will remain as a councillor until next year's local electons, broke the news to Conservative members at the group's fortnightly meeting on Tuesday night (March 18).

He was elected as a councillor in 2003 and, after being responsible for the environment and finance, took over the role from then leader Coun Dennis Norton in 2005. He was re-elected to his Alvechurch ward in 2007 and 2011.

There were turbulent times for the council back then and in 2004 it entered into voluntary engagement, which meant the Govenment came in to offer external help in running the authority.

Coun Hollingworth told The Standard: "The minister informed us we were the worst performing council she had ever seen - it was in a mess."

After making significant improvements over a number of years, Bromsgrove District Council formally came out of voluntary engagement in 2009.

Coun Hollingworth said: "From being in intervention we went to being mentioned in the Commons for being a council others should be looking towards.

"We have also gone through the worst recession in many years and have worked on the town which is what the people of Bromsgrove said they wanted."

He said the authority was now on an even keel with stable and sustainable services.

"I'm proud of how Bromsgrove has developed and that the town centre is now coming together.

"It was a hard decision to share services with Redditch, but we have maintained our political sovereignty and, through that, we have saved £1million-a-year which, with an annual budget of £12million, is pretty good going."

Coun Hollingworth said he took the decision to leave his role because, since setting up his business in 1983 and with all his council work in the 11 years he has been in office, he had hardly seen his family.

"I want to spend more time with my wife - I leave her at home so many nights while I am attending meetings or dealing with council business.

"I have done what I came to do - put Bromsgrove on a firm footing and now it's time for someone new to take on a whole lot of new challenges that are facing the council and to drive the progress further forward."

When asked about any unfinished business, he said he would have liked to have seen the town centre completed but, he admitted, that could take a couple more years.

And he said he would like to have seen a North Worcestershire authority arrangement set up, similar to the shared services with Redditch but with Kidderminster included as well.

Subject to votes, a new Conservative leader will be selected on April 15 and a new leader of the authority - either from the Tories, Labour or an independent - will be elected at the full council meeting in May.

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