Councillor Darshan Sunger has been returned as Chairman of Epping Forest District Council. Councillor Les Burrows is the Council’s new Vice-Chairman.
Council Leader Chris Whitbread also presented his new Cabinet.
Councillor Darshan Sunger – New Chairman of Council
Darshan Sunger is the first Sikh Chairman of Epping Forest District Council. The marathon running businessman and councillor from Chigwell announced that Chigwell Riding Trust would be his charity for the next municipal year.
Asking fellow councillors to dig deep into their pockets, Councillor Sunger said:
Chigwell Riding Trust was the first ever riding centre for people with special needs in this country. It has been established in Chigwell for over 60 years. It not only benefits people with special needs. It also benefits the entire community, giving opportunities for volunteering, school participation and practical experience for children and adults working with people and animals.
Councillor Sunger made special mention of his wife Teri and mother Jaswant who have played such important roles in his life. He is also particularly looking forward to the 50th anniversary of the founding of Epping Forest District Council on 1 April next year.
Thanks to outgoing Chairman Mary Sartin
Mrs Mary Sartin has stood down as chairman and councillor after decades of public service to the people of Roydon and Epping Forest District. Supported by her husband, John, Mrs Sartin holds the rare distinction of being one of the few councillors to serve 2 terms as chairman.
Councillor Sunger praised Mrs Sartin for her support, saying:
Mary has guided me through my past year as vice chairman – and I have learnt so much about the role of a chairman. I would also like to thank her husband John for taking my late-night calls and always having good advice in times of need.
Councillors also honoured Mrs Sartin with a gold long-service medal in recognition of 20 years as a district councillor. Nigel Avey who retired from the Council at the last elections received a bronze long-service meal. The family of former Councillor Brian Rolfe will receive a silver medal for his long service; sadly, Cllr Rolfe passed away in February 2023.
Service to the community
Councillor Sunger is looking forward to working with fellow councillors. He reminded Council of the difficulties and pressures facing residents. He said:
We are all still facing very challenging times and it is even more important than ever that we are here to assist and support our community. We all need to work together to ensure the best outcomes for our residents and local businesses. It is our responsibility to ensure a better future for us all.
Les Burrow’s nomination for Vice-Chairman means some reallocation of Cabinet responsibilities. Councillor Chris Whitbread was reappointed as Leader of Council. He has taken the opportunity to review his Cabinet with the addition of Councillor Ray Balcombe and Councillor Smruti Patel to his team.
- Leader of Council – Councillor Chris Whitbread
- Place and Deputy Leader – Councillor Nigel Bedford
- Finance and Economic Development – Councillor John Philip
- Housing and Strategic Health Partnerships – Councillor Holly Whitbread
- Community Health and Wellbeing – Councillor Smruti Patel
- Contracts Service Delivery and Improvement – Councillor Ray Balcombe
- Regulatory Services – Councillor Ken Williamson
- Customer and Corporate Support Services – Councillor Sam Kane
Other key appointments at Annual Council
- Chairman Plans Sub Committee East – Councillor Ian Hadley
- Chairman Plans Sub Committee West – Councillor Steven Heather
- Chairman Plans Sub Committee South – Councillor Kaz Rizvi
- Chairman District Development Management Committee – Councillor Paul Keska
- Chairman Overview and Scrutiny Committee – Councillor David Wixley
- Chairman Communities Scrutiny Committee – Councillor Aniket Patel
- Chairman Place Scrutiny Committee – Councillor Helen Kane
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