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Torridge councillor Barry Parsons takes on county responsibility

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: May 23, 2013

CONFIDENT: John Hart.

CONFIDENT: John Hart.

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A TORIDGE-based county councillor has become the first from the district in several years to be given the responsibility of a county council portfolio.

Councillor Barry Parsons, who represents the Holsworthy Rural ward for the county council, will now also be responsible for the performance and community engagement portfolio after the local elections earlier this month.

Mr Parsons had also been the leader of Torridge District Council for the past two years but on Monday he was voted out at its annual meeting.

He still represents the Forest ward for the district council.

The Conservatives retained control of the county council despite losing seats, including two to UKIP candidates in the Torridge wards.

After a cabinet reshuffle Mr Parsons is the only new addition to the previous cabinet, which served for the council's last four-year term.

He brings the total number of councillors on the cabinet up to nine again. There were eight after Christine Channon stepped down as councillor after admitting drink driving last year.

Mr Parsons hopes the extra responsibility will enable him to have more influence within the council.

He said: "I hope this will benefit Torridge. No Torridge members have been on the cabinet for several years. I will hopefully be able to communicate to people the needs we have.

"I feel a lot of the work I have been doing on the county council previously has been linked to the portfolio so I feel I can add to it using my experience."

Mr Parsons has relinquished his other responsibilities on the county council to concentrate on the portfolio. He does not think the extra responsibility will affect his work at Torridge.

He said: "I have a lot of support with what I am doing here and I know people place trust in me."

Mr Parsons will now receive more than £30,000 in councillor allowances for both roles, without including travel expenses.

For his role as county council cabinet member, Mr Parsons will receive £16,455.

As Torridge council leader Mr Parsons claimed a total of £16,906.70, including travel expenses, in 2011/12.

Mr Parsons' allowance from Torridge will decrease now that he is no longer leader.

County council leader John Hart said: "This is a cabinet with experience and skills which have been forged over the last four years of austerity.

"I am confident that this new team – some continuing with their existing responsibilities and some taking on new challenges – will provide the right blend to lead the council in doing the best we can for every resident of our county."

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