New opposition group leader unveiled at council

A new opposition leader has been unveiled at Cannock Chase Council – and the authority’s Conservative leader is starting her second year in charge.

Tony Johnson
Tony Johnson

Tony Johnson, previously deputy leader of the authority’s Labour group, has succeeded former council leader George Adamson who stood down at this year’s elections.

Councillor Johnson also served as spokesman for economic development and planning during the authority’s Labour administration, which ended last year after the group lost overall control to the Tories.

At Wednesday’s annual meeting he was announced as the new opposition group leader. He said: “I never thought I would be in this position.

“The people of our district face challenging times with the cost of living crisis. Also in the district we have Levelling Up and the redevelopment of Cannock town centre.

“We will support where appropriate and we will oppose where appropriate, be constructive and offer alternative ideas where appropriate. I am sure we can all work together for the benefit of the people of Cannock Chase District.”

Councillor Olivia Lyons, who was re-elected for a second term to serve Rugeley’s Western Springs ward, also starts her second year as council leader.

She said: “It’s an honour to accept the leader position for the second time and the greatest honour to serve or residents. I am proud that my group’s mandate has been strengthened after the election and thank all those who voted.

“We are here to represent everyone, however they voted, and we are determined to bring a brighter future to all, building on from the successes of our £1.2 million investment in Rugeley Leisure Centre, launching the Cannock Chase Can health and wellbeing app, securing millions of pounds through our successful Levelling Up bid, working to put Cannock Chase truly on the map through the Commonwealth Games, breathing life into all our high streets, repairing our bridges and boardwalks, and creating a pipeline of future projects.

“I particularly welcome all the new members to the council and would like to praise council staff for their dedication and hard work over the past year. Collectively, our aim is to improve the lives of each and every resident we serve.”

Doug Smith, who has served as council chairman for the past year, handed over the chain of office to Councillor Martyn Buttery who was re-elected to serve Heath Hayes East and Wimblebury at the latest poll.

One of Councillor Smith’s final acts as chairman was to present a cheque for £1,000 to his chosen charity, Stafford Riding for the Disabled Group (RDA). The funds were raised during the past year and received by Fiona Round, Chairman of the RDA Stafford and District branch, and inspirational rider Richard Brumby, who is deaf and blind and has Asperger’s Syndrome and was accompanied by his mother and his carer.

Councillor Buttery was first elected to Cannock Chase Council in 2014 and is starting his third term as an elected member. A former member of the Armed Forces, he was appointed as the Council’s Armed Forces Champion in March, to help facilitate support to individuals connected to the Armed Forces, by helping to unblock any issues they may have around housing or employment or signposting them to any support that is required.

Councillor Buttery said: “I thank all the members for electing me and I am looking very much forward to the year ahead. I am delighted to announce that my chosen charities during my term of office will be Heath Hayes Community Table and Help A Squaddie.”

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