Wealden District Council leader, Conservative councillor Bob Standley, has announced he is standing down as leader of the authority in May.
Councillor Standley, who has represented Frant and Wadhurst since first being elected in 2004, is stepping down at a Conservative Group AGM later this month.
During his 18 years as a district councillor – and a dozen years as council leader – Councillor Standley has overseen a transformation programme that reduced the council’s costs, is acclaimed for improving the wellbeing and quality of life for Wealden residents and been the driving force to ensure the authority is in a strong position to enable continued excellent delivery of services to residents.
He has also been at the forefront of delivering major capital projects within Wealden including the creation of Sussex Weald Homes Ltd in 2017, which delivers smaller family homes and contributes to keeping council tax as low as possible; overseeing a £7m leisure centre refurbishment programme; creating Wealden Crematorium in 2020, as well as supporting the development of Ashdown Business Park and Swallow Park Business Centres in 2015 and 2017. He has been leading on the plan for a 40 acre employment park near Hailsham, which is forecast to create hundreds of jobs for local people over the next 10 years.
Councillor Standley has also been continuously lobbying government and senior ministers to reduce the number of homes Wealden council is obliged to provide across the district.
Councillor Standley said, “I have been thinking for some time whether I should continue as leader of the council and have concluded that having served 18 years and with elections next year, now is the right time for a new leader to take over and lead the council up to and through those elections. "It has been an honour and a privilege to serve the community over those 18 years of which 15 years have been in Wealden’s cabinet and 12 years as leader.
Wealden District Council’s chief executive Trevor Scott led the thanks to Councillor Standley. He said, “Due to Councillor Standley’s leadership, dedication, drive and enthusiasm, many initiatives in Wealden have been successful.
“Through his influence and ability to tackle challenges with enthusiasm and working with others, he has instilled confidence in the ability of the council to provide excellent service delivery and value for money. In my opinion his achievements stand out and he is inspirational and a role model to others.”
Councillor Standley’s Conservative colleague and friend, Councillor Ann Newton, who is the deputy leader of the council, said, “Bob has been inspirational in supporting Wealden businesses and residents during his tenure and delivered exceptional local public services for our communities.”
Councillor Standley will continue to serve on East Sussex County Council where he sits on the Cabinet as lead member for Education Special Educational Needs and Disabilities, and represents the Wealden North-East division which includes Frant, Wadhurst, Hadlow Down and Rotherfield.
Further details of who will replace Councillor’s Standley as leader of Wealden District Council will be announced later this month.