UPDATE: Suffolk County Council leader pledged re-think on cuts
BECCLES councillor Mark Bee is set to be the next leader of Suffolk County Council.
BECCLES councillor Mark Bee has been named as the next leader of Suffolk County Council – and immediately offered a reprieve to the county's threatened school crossing patrols.
Mr Bee, who is currently leader of Waveney Council, was today elected leader of the Conservative group at the county council.
He is now set to become council leader at the authority's annual meeting on May 26.
But he has already made his mark on the council.
After being elected today he said: 'In the case of school crossing patrols, I can assure residents that in the areas where the patrols are most needed, they will not now be stopped, unless or until a suitable alternative arrangement has been found.'
And he pledged to listen to the people of Suffolk before making radical changes to the county's services.
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He said: 'I am clear that we must continue to seek out alternative ways of funding our services: that won't change - the financial climate demands this.
'But in doing so, I will ensure that we take great care that those alternative ways are actually in place before we take away the funding.
'Across the board, with services such as libraries, household waste recycling centres, school and college transport, we need to take time to think through the consequences, consider the implications, listen to the concerns and be clear what the end result will be, before we make the final decisions.'
Mr Bee has been chairman of Suffolk's scrutiny committee until now – as such he has a clear insight into the workings of the council.
When he takes over as leader of the authority, there are expected to be major changes into the way the authority is run.
Until May 26 Jane Storey will remain interim leader of the authority. She was returned unopposed as deputy leader of the Conservative group and is expected to revert to deputy council leader after May 26.