First chairman announced for Oulton Broad as new parish council holds inaugural meeting

The first Oulton Broad Parish Council chairman, Ben Falat. Picture: Amy Smith

The first Oulton Broad Parish Council chairman, Ben Falat. Picture: Amy Smith - Credit: Archant

The inaugural meeting of Oulton Broad Parish Council has been held, with Ben Falat voted in as the first ever chairman.

The first meeting of Oulton Broad Parish Council. Picture: Amy Smith

The first meeting of Oulton Broad Parish Council. Picture: Amy Smith - Credit: Archant

Waveney District Council chief executive Stephen Baker welcomed the five new councillors to Riverside in Lowestoft on Monday evening for the historical first meeting, before handing over the reigns to Mr Falat.

Before proceedings got under way, councillors held a minute's silence in memory of Waveney District Council leader Colin Law, who died after a short battle with illness at the weekend.

Paying tribute, Oulton Broad councillor Andrew Page said: 'Myself and other people around this table have worked with Colin over the years and I did so on many occasions through various organisations and projects in Oulton Broad. He was always a very wonderful man, very friendly, very happy to help and he cared very passionately about Oulton Broad and Lowestoft and the wider Waveney area.

'We've all lost a great man and he will be sorely missed.'

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The meeting continued with the announcement of the resignation of Steve Sturgess, who originally stood for a seat, with seven vacancies now to fill on the council.

Councillors agreed not to appoint a deputy chairman until more positions have been filled.

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Until alternative arrangements are made, councillors also voted to appoint Shona Bendix as clerk, from the Suffolk Association of Local Councils, with Brian Mew, from Waveney and Suffolk Coastal District Council, as responsible financial officer.

One item on the agenda was the list of assets transferred to the parish council from the district council, which councillors requested a full register of details on to be discussed further at their next meeting.

A future venue for meetings was also discussed with councillors hoping to find a suitable home in Oulton Broad.

Commenting on his new role, Mr Falat said: 'Oulton Broad is such a great place to live and to enjoy an excellent quality of life. I should enjoy sharing my enthusiasm, striving to make everyone as proud of what we have.

'Parish councils exist all over the country and there are many we can use as models, but starting something new is scary.

'But it is a huge opportunity to be part of it at the beginning and it means we can start things up how we wish, representing the people of this area.'

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