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Two-way battle to become Pembrokeshire County Council Leader

A two-way battle for the leadership of Pembrokeshire County Council is to take place between Di Clements and Jon Harvey (Pic: Pembrokeshire County Council)

PEMBROKESHIRE is facing a two-horse race for its leadership, which will be decided in just over a week’s time, with the latest challenger saying he will offer “ambition, dedication, passion, openness and integrity”.

The county council leadership challenge follows current leader Cllr David Simpson officially stating last week he is to step down, with the role’s incumbent decided at the council’s forthcoming Annual General Meeting on May 10.

Pembrokeshire Council Leader David Simpson is to stand down (Pic: Pembrokeshire County Council webcast)

The first to throw her hat into the ring last week was Pembrokeshire Conservative group leader Councillor Di Clements.

She has now been joined by unaffiliated member Cllr Jon Harvey, a Cabinet member currently serving under Cllr Simpson.

Cllr Harvey, Cabinet Member for Planning & Housing Delivery, and Pembroke St Mary North county councillor officially announced his running this morning, April 30: “It would be an honour and privilege to become the next Leader of Pembrokeshire County Council – a privilege that I do not take lightly and I am committed to serving the residents of Pembrokeshire with ambition, dedication, passion, openness and integrity.

“As a council we need to tackle the crucial issues that define the fabric of our county and the wonderful communities that comprise it. Housing, education, social care and a vibrant economy along with the protection of our natural environment are the keystones on which our residents’ well-being and prosperity rest.

“I am excited and positive about what we can collectively achieve over the coming months and years and how we can build on the successes that the current administration has achieved whilst being very mindful of the need to provide value for money in the delivery of essential services for the Pembrokeshire council tax-payer.

“The successful Celtic Freeport bid and the exciting Green Energy projects in The Haven have the potential to revitalise and expand the Pembrokeshire economy. I will continue to pursue economic development initiatives and foster an environment conducive to entrepreneurship and investment, where jobs can be created, and new businesses attracted.

“There remains a pressing need for affordable housing in Pembrokeshire. Through strategic partnerships and innovative policies, I will work tirelessly to expand housing options to ensure access to quality homes that those in need can afford.

“Our new council house building programme will continue at pace and provide secure, energy efficient homes for those desperately in need of affordable housing.”

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Cllr Jon Harvey – Cabinet Member for Planning & Housing Delivery (Pic: Pembrokeshire County Council)

Cllr Harvey also said education was “the cornerstone of our future” and in social care “we must strive to uphold the dignity and well-being of every resident, especially the most vulnerable amongst us,” along with working to “build a more inclusive and supportive society where no-one is left behind”.

“I am acutely aware of the extreme difficulties that many in our communities are facing and the need to work cooperatively to alleviate and overcome these.

He added: “I will work to build as much consensus as possible within the council chamber, where we can work with a shared vision for Pembrokeshire, where we can overcome challenges and create a better future for our residents and future generations.

“I want to lead a forward-looking and ambitious administration that builds on the very best our beautiful county provides whilst being completely mindful of the financial challenges we face going forward. As custodians of the public pound, any Cabinet I lead will be committed to ensuring value for money in the services we provide whilst moving with the times to ensure Pembrokeshire is best placed to take advantage of future opportunities.

“We can’t simply sit back and let the challenges we face overwhelm us. We need to work with communities and organisations to create a nurturing environment where opportunities are created, and aspirations raised. We need to create the right conditions for our county to flourish and give hope and opportunity to others. That’s the kind of administration that I want to lead, and I sincerely hope I get the chance to do so.”

County Councillor Di Clements (Pic: Pembrokeshire County Council)

Cllr Clements, county councillor for Martletwy and current chair of Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, announced her standing last week: “It is with a profound sense of duty and optimism that I put my name forward for leader of Pembrokeshire County Council.

“Our community deserves robust leadership that not only understands our unique challenges but also the immense potential of our beautiful county. I am proud to call Pembrokeshire my home and I am committed to working hard to ensure we as councillors prioritise spending for the betterment of all residents.”

She added: “As your council leader, I pledge to ensure that taxpayer funds are spent wisely and not to shy away from the responsibility of managing council spending.

“We must ensure that every pound is invested in a way that delivers real value and benefits directly to the taxpayers of Pembrokeshire.”