A NEW leader has assumed the reins of Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council.

Councillor Ken Rhatigan, who represents Kingsclere, was confirmed as leader of the authority at a full council meeting last night (May16), after being elected by the ruling Conservative group at its meeting on Monday.

Cllr Rhatigan replaces Cllr Clive Sanders, who has stepped down following seven years as leader, though he will remain a backbench member.

The new leader said: "This is a great place to live but it could be even better. My job as the new leader is to make it amazing, not just for our residents, but for the people who work and spend their free time here.

"Together as a strong cabinet team, we will strive to protect what we have and make the future brighter for all the people in the borough.”

First elected to Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council to represent the Kingsclere ward in 2006, Cllr Rhatigan served until 2013, when he stood down. In May 2016 he was re-elected to the Kingsclere ward.

Meanwhile, Cllr Simon Bound has been made deputy leader of Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council.

Cllr Bound, who has represented Rooksdown ward since 2015, said: "I am proud to have the opportunity to serve as deputy leader, supporting the leader in delivering the things that people most want us to do every day and in the medium and long term.

"I will be strengthening our links with partner organisations to ensure we are acting as one to make a real difference to the lives of all the people in our communities.”

The other members of the ruling cabinet, announced by Cllr Rhatigan last night, are:

• Cabinet member for borough development and improvement – Cllr Rebecca Bean (Hatch Warren and Beggarwood)

• Cabinet member for environment and enforcement - Cllr Hayley Eachus (Kempshott)

• Cabinet member for finance and service improvement – Cllr Hannah Golding (Oakley and North Waltham)

• Cabinet member for regeneration and property – Cllr John Izett (Burghclere, Highclere and St Mary Bourne)

• Cabinet member for homes and families - Cllr Tristan Robinson (Sherborne St. John)

• Cabinet member for planning, infrastructure and natural environment – Cllr Mark Ruffell (Upton Grey and The Candovers)