Mayor Peter Taylor has announced that he will be taking on the planning portfolio as part of changes to his cabinet at Watford Council. During the recent mayoral elections, the amount of development in Watford was a key issue for the candidates. Under the new arrangements Mayor Taylor will be more directly involved in making sure Watford’s Local Plan is adopted this year and he has vowed to continue to press for changes to national planning rules, which he says have resulted in an ‘unfair’ housing target for Watford.
Councillor Stephen Johnson has made the decision to step down from the Watford Council Cabinet after eight years covering first housing and then planning too. Cllr Johnson has just been re-elected as a councillor for the next four years, and will remain an active member of the Liberal Democrat group serving residents in Tudor ward.
Other changes include expanding Cllr Jennifer Pattinson’s portfolio to now cover Housing as well as wellbeing.
The other Cabinet Members are now as follows:
- Councillor Aga Dychton, Deputy Mayor and Portfolio Holder for Community
- Councillor Jenny Pattinson, Portfolio Holder for Housing and Wellbeing and Liberal Democrat Group Leader
- Councillor Ian Stotesbury, Portfolio Holder for Transport and Sustainability
- Councillor Mark Watkin, Portfolio Holder for Property, Resources and Customer Services
- Councillor Tim Williams, Portfolio Holder for Neighbourhood Services
Elected Mayor of Watford, Peter Taylor, said “I am so grateful to Steve for all the work he has done as Portfolio Holder for Property, Planning and Housing Services. Steve has played a huge role in reducing homelessness and rough sleeping in Watford, leading to many nights with zero verified rough sleepers in our town. He has also done a lot of work to reduce the number of local families in temporary accommodation and made sure that those who are have better accommodation.
“I know that Steve will continue to work hard for local residents and will provide great insight and knowledge to the Council and residents through his years of experience. I would like to extend my thanks on behalf of everyone at the Council for all he has done during his time as a Cabinet Member.
“I know that planning was a contentious issue in the recent elections. I am determined to make sure we have a new Local Plan in place this year. There are many problems with the current system but this will mean that we have a bit more power to oppose taller developments, especially ones that aren’t in key locations such as transport hubs and the town centre. I will continue to fight the unfair housing target the government has set for us which must be cut.”
Stephen Johnson, Councillor for Tudor ward, said “I am proud to have played my part in reducing rough sleeping in Watford and providing better accommodation for people in temporary accommodation. Having served as a councillor for many years, and as a cabinet member for 8 years, I have decided that now is the right time for a change. I will continue to represent the residents of Tudor ward and be an active member of the Liberal Democrat group on the council.”