Diss Town Council elects council leader after changes to governing structure

Diss Town Council's leader Graham Minshull and mayor Mike Bardwell

Diss Town Council's leader Graham Minshull and mayor Mike Bardwell - Credit: Archant

Diss Town Council's new leader Graham Minshull has spoken of his pride at being elected as the first ever council leader after a major change to the authority's governing structure.

Mr Minshull, who is also a district councillor, was nominated for the position at the annual meeting of the council, along with Julian Mason, who had just ended his term as mayor.

'It was a very proud moment and they are putting their trust in me to guide the town over the coming year,' said Mr Minshull. 'It is going to be a very interesting year that is for sure.'

Under the changes Mr Minshull will provide support to the town clerk with the day-to-day operation of the council, take responsibility for the council's strategy plan and deputise for the mayor when required.

Former Diss firefighter Mike Bardwell was elected the new mayor - the second time he has held the position.

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The creation of the council leader will enable the mayor to concentrate on representing the council at civic and other functions. He will continue to chair full council meetings.

Mr Minshull, who was mayor from 2012 to 2013, said: 'It is a big change but we are reacting to the modern world. People seeing that being mayor is a ceremonial role will open the opportunity for people to want to be mayor. It is a major exercise being mayor but it is a great role.

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'My first aim as leader is to get councillors more involved. I will be giving them projects that need life brought back into them.'

The role changes were implemented as part of a strategy plan to help the council deliver its four key priorities: of infrastructure, community engagement, facilities and heritage and internal operations.

Mr Bardwell, 54, said it was a great honour to have been elected again as the mayor of the town he has lived in for most of his life.

He said: 'I am looking forward to the year ahead. I am pleased to be working with Graham, we have a good working relationship.

'Passing on some of the mayor's roles to the leader will take some of the pressure off myself and we can work together and concentrate on getting things done.'

The mayor will continue to be elected yearly. The council leader will be put up for re-election after a year but unless councillors decide a change is needed it will be an ongoing role.

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