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Top South Kesteven Tory seeks a "new more collaborative approach" should he become council leader

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Would be council leader Kelham Cooke says he wants a "new more collaborative approach" at South Kesteven District Council.

The 29-year-old Casewick councillor made the pledge after he was elected leader of its ruling Conservative group earlier this week.

He beat former council leader Bob Adams (Con-Isaac Newton) in a two-horse race.

Coun Kelham Cooke (16116384)
Coun Kelham Cooke (16116384)

The election follows the sudden resignation of Coun Matthew Lee (Con- Stamford St Mary's) as leader last month, leading to Coun Lee's deputy to become acting leader.

Now, Coun Cooke hopes to be elected leader by the whole council on September 26.

In a statement, Coun Cooke said SKDC has seen much change over the past two years, with reduced government funding forcing the council to change its ways to deliver services.

"So, I stand by our vision for a strong, commercially-focused council that puts the needs of local residents first by delivering excellent services.

He continued: "As acting leader of SKDC, I continue to talk with a lot people, trade union representatives, staff, and local business leaders, and I am listening to what they have to say.

"Quite simply, my approach is different. I want a more open, transparent and collaborative style of council that welcomes constructive challenge and respects differences. I want more engagement and a greater focus on delivery and stability.

"I am not going into policy details at present, that would fly in the face of the new more collaborative approach, and the new era, that I hope we are entering. It also would be presumptuous.

"At present, I am acting leader of SKDC and the newly elected leader of the district’s Conservative Group. There is still a process to be completed, and I am not taking anything for granted.”

Read the Mercury profile of Councillor Cooke, which was written last December.

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