Express & Star

New leader of council promises Walsall first, regardless of political colour

The new leader of Walsall Council has promised a ‘Walsall first approach’ as he lays out his future plans as Council leader.


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Councillor Garry Perry was roped in to the position after the sudden resignation of Councillor Mike Bird last month.

Not only has the council’s leadership changed, it is now working with a new national government following the general election, and a new West Midlands Mayor, Richard Parker, who was elected in May.

Leader Garry Perry introduced his leader’s report at the meeting last night, making clear his intentions to not let party colours get in the way of the council’s work.

He said: “We have a new government, we have a new regional mayor. It’s in the interests of Walsall, irrespective of political colour that we work with them constructively.

“I’ve already started those relationships with the mayor of the West Midlands, whose approach is very similar to that announced by the Prime Minister.

"We won’t agree on everything but it’s in no one’s interest to turn the other way because of a political colour or the colour of the rosette.

“We have to have a Walsall first approach to everything we do and where I can, I’ll work constructively with the government, with our regional mayor, and others, to ensure that Walsall benefits from the investments that hopefully will come.”

Councillors wanted to know how the new leader will tackle fly-tipping blighting the community. Last year, the council served nearly 500 litter fines and more than 20 fly-tipping fines.

Councillor Perry said he will continue a ‘zero-tolerance’ approach and hoped the new government would introduce sanctions for fly-tipping, such as losing your driving licence.

As well as fly-tipping, inequalities and community tensions were put to the new leader.

Councillor Matt Ward, leader of the opposition, wanted to know whether Councillor Perry would reach out to community leaders in a bid to ‘simmer down’ tensions.

Councillor Perry said: “Unfortunately, we can’t ignore that national events have affected the way people are feeling.

"What I would say is this, it is important that as leaders we listen to our communities, that’s the first form of showing respect.”

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