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Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council

Cllr Ken Rhatigan was re-elected as Leader for a four-year term and announced a Cabinet ‘reshuffle’ at the annual Council meeting last night (Thursday 27 May).

First elected as Leader in May 2019, Cllr Rhatigan was reappointed at the meeting of all councillors, held at The Haymarket owing to COVID-19 restrictions. This followed Cllr Rhatigan’s group winning a majority of 33 seats of the 54 on the council in the elections on Thursday 6 May.

The Leader appoints his Cabinet and Cllr Rhatigan announced that Cllr Simon Bound was continuing as Deputy Leader. The other members of the Cabinet return, but there have been some changes to portfolios:

· Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Communities, Planning and Infrastructure Cllr Simon Bound

· Cabinet Member for Health, Wellbeing and Leisure Cllr Rebecca Bean

· Cabinet Member for Recycling, Waste and Regulatory Services Cllr Hayley Eachus

· Cabinet Member for Economic Development Cllr Hannah Golding

· Cabinet Member for Finance and Major Projects Cllr John Izett

· Cabinet Member for Homes and Housing Regeneration Cllr Tristan Robinson

· Cabinet Member for the Natural Environment and Climate Improvement Cllr Mark Ruffell.

Cllr Rhatigan said: “I was very proud to have come from the back benches straight into the role as Leader two years ago and I am privileged to be re-elected as Leader for another four years. With business experience and years of interacting with people in all walks of life, my aim is to understand what matters to people at a local level and give them the good value and clear vision they expect from their council.

“I am glad to announce the return of experienced and dedicated Cabinet members. We have a lot to do, and I have made some change to portfolios to ensure the best fit of services in the context and new challenges of our post-COVID world. This will increase resilience in the strong team taking the borough forward. Our focus is on supporting our communities and businesses to recover as we emerge from the pandemic and drive forward initiatives to give everyone in the borough a brighter future and meet our climate emergency targets.”

Sara Shepherd

Basingstoke and Deane Update

“A tremendous honour” is how Basingstoke and Deane’s new Mayor Cllr Onnalee Cubitt views her forthcoming year in office. Cllr Cubitt, who represents Basing and Upton Grey ward, was made Mayor last night (Thursday 27 May) at the annual Council meeting held at The Haymarket, owing to COVID restrictions on the number able to fit in the Council Chamber. Having served two years as Deputy Mayor, following Cllr Taylor’s Mayoral term being extended in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Cllr Cubitt is looking forward to getting out and about to meet as many borough residents and businesses as possible, in line with guidelines, as restrictions ease and lift. This year, the new Mayor and her Consort, her husband Hugo Cubitt DL, hope to be able to resume many of the annual events on the Mayoral calendar in person, rather than online. She said: “I am very excited to become Mayor of this wonderful borough and celebrate all that it has to offer, especially after the difficulties of the pandemic. It will feel extra special to attend events and ceremonies in person and meet people, one of the pleasures that we will no longer take for granted.” The Mayor’s Charity Appeal 2021/22 supports two local good causes - The Community Furniture Project and The Friends of St. Michael’s Hospice. Since the early 1990s, Cllr Cubitt has been involved in helping to raise funds for St. Michael’s Hospice. The Friends of St. Michael’s Hospice’s fundraising contributes towards maintaining the excellent standard of palliative care for which the hospice is renowned. Described by Cllr Cubitt as “simply amazing”, The Community Furniture Project gives a new life to unwanted furniture, appliances, bicycles and household goods, selling them to raise money, as well as providing at low cost or free to those in need. The project gives local people with learning disabilities or mental health conditions the opportunity to train and gain new skills. Cllr Cubitt has been a board member of Loddon Social Enterprise Ltd for over 12 years. The charity provides a safe working environment for adults with learning disabilities. She was also a local education authority governor of Dove House School, an outstanding local special educational needs secondary school, for a number of years before it became an academy. The Mayor is also hoping to use the year to encourage more adults to volunteer to support the army, air, sea, police and St John Ambulance cadet groups. Cllr Cubitt has seen what a difference the cadet movements can make to young people, helping them to develop life skills, such as problem solving and teamwork. She is keen that the current lack of volunteers doesn’t stop more young people having the chance to benefit. Cllr Cubitt was raised in Weston Patrick and has spent most of her life in Basingstoke and Deane. She has been a borough councillor since 2008 and lives in Up Nately. The couple have two children, Billy, aged 21, and Summer, 19, who are both studying at universities in Oxford. After leaving school, Cllr Cubitt was a voluntary worker in Sri Lanka, teaching English and Mathematics in an orphanage in Moratuwa. Cllr Cubitt holds a joint Anglo-French BA Hons degree in European Business Studies and a Diplome d’Ecole Superieure de Commerce de Reims, ESC Reims. She joined Standard Chartered Bank as a graduate trainee in 1988 and spent the next 14 years based in London in international finance. She also worked for a couple of other banks before returning to Standard Chartered Bank in 1997 to be Head of Loan Syndications, running a multi-national team covering Africa, the Middle East, the Indian sub-continent and Europe. She met her Hampshire-born husband Hugo by the shores of Lough Dan in the Wicklow Mountains. In 2001, Onnalee and Hugo moved to Basingstoke and Deane and founded a local building company specialising in period properties. The couple have been extensively involved with fundraising for a number of charities over the years, including St. Michael’s Hospice and the Army Benevolent Fund. They also raised £550,000 for the Piam Brown Ward, the children’s cancer ward in University Hospital Southampton, where their daughter Summer spent three years being treated for T Cell Lymphoblastic Lymphoma. The Deputy Mayor for Basingstoke and Deane 2021/22 is Cllr Paul Miller and the Deputy Mayoress is his wife Sandra. For more information on the Basingstoke and Deane Mayor visit www.basingstoke.gov.uk/mayor

Sara Shepherd