Clare's the casualty in Welwyn Hatfield Council cabinet reshuffle

THE borough council's cabinet is now one member down. At the annual meeting of Welwyn Hatfield Council, it was confirmed Clare Berry, who represents the Hatfield Villages ward, would not be continuing in her role as executive member for environment and co

THE borough council's cabinet is now one member down.

At the annual meeting of Welwyn Hatfield Council, it was confirmed Clare Berry, who represents the Hatfield Villages ward, would not be continuing in her role as executive member for environment and community.

Instead, her portfolio will be shared out among the remaining six councillors, following the decision to cut the number of cabinet members by one.

John Dean, who was reappointed council leader at the meeting, said the move allowed Cllr Berry more time to focus on her dual role as both a borough and county councillor, where she is deputy executive member for highways transport and rural affairs and standing for re-election in June.

"We've not given any county councillors or prospective county councillors cabinet roles this year," he added.

Cllr Berry said: "It's been a privilege serving on the cabinet for the past two years.

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"It is time consuming. It's four nights and two full days a week. It's a very demanding job and with county council work it becomes your whole life."

Cllr Berry agreed the demands of two high profile council jobs had impacted on the amount of time she could spend in her Hatfield ward.

"I will appreciate the time to get out into the community again," she said. "Hatfield is my real focus. That's where I want to be."

But Margaret Birleson, leader of the Welwyn Hatfield Labour group, was critical of the reshuffle.

"Why have they reduced the cabinet from seven to six?" she asked. "Did Clare Berry not do a good job? That's what it suggests to me.

"Big decisions should be made by a bigger group."

As a result of the change, Mark Gilding is now executive member for corporate strategy, and Roger Trigg becomes portfolio holder for housing and community.

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