THERE is now an extra chance for you to ask questions of your councillors after Hart District Council agreed to an additional council meeting next month.

At last week's Annual General Meeting, held virtually, councillors unanimously voted in favour of holding the additional meeting on Thursday, June 25, to give the public the opportunity to ask questions.

The amendment to the scheduled date of July 30 was proposed by Conservative group leader and Hartley Wintney ward councillor, Cllr Anne Crampton, who said that if the council waited until then, more than two months from now, it would be five months since the public have had the chance to ask questions of their elected councillors.

Cllr Crampton said: "Given the likely format of a virtual meeting, I think that if we leave it until July it will be unwieldly."

Responding, council leader Cllr David Neighbour (Lib Dem, Yateley East), who was re-elected by council last Thursday, said that whilst he had "no problem" with the idea, there was still technical difficulties to be worked through, including how the public can ask supplementary questions.

Cllr Crampton said: "I am confident we will find a way around these problems, if we have the will."

Also at the meeting on Thursday last week, councillors voted for the chairmen of the committees for the next year.

Cllr Wendy Makepeace-Browne (CCH) was elected chair of audit, Cllr Gill Butler (CCH) was elected to continue as chair of licensing, Cllr Jane Worlock (Con) took over Overview and Scrutiny, Cllr Alan Oliver (CCH) was appointed chair of planning and Cllr Peter Wildsmith (Lib Dem) will take over the staffing committee.

The postponement of eleven district council elections was also rubber-stamped.

It comes as an Odiham councillor was appointed chairman.

John Kennett (Conservative), will take on the role of the district's first citizen for the next year.

Cllr Kennett had previously held the role in 2011-12, and was due to stand for re-election earlier this month before that was postponed until 2021.

He took over the role from Cllr Sharyn Wheale (Conservative, Fleet East).

He told the meeting: "Thank you very much indeed for giving me the honour of serving as your chairman for a second time, even though it has to be said that my predecessor is of the view that this it he first time that I deserve the title, and before she thought me too callow and inexperienced.

"Nevertheless I'd like to congratulate her on the way she has carried out her duties.

"She has shown great courage and diligence in office, despite any personal problems.

"I will endeavour to represent you and run council meetings in as non-partisan a way as possible, and I trust that you'll all return the favour in not engaging in personal disputes in the council chamber."

Cllr Wheale said: "As chairman this year as you all know it has been a difficult year.

"Unfortunately I wasn't able to have my chairman's dinner to raise even more funds for my charities but I have managed some things.

"It hasn't been the kind of year I wanted it to be.

"Cllr Kennett, I'd like to congratulate you on being this year's chairman."

Cllr Simon Ambler (Community Campaign Hart, Crookham West & Ewshot) was elected as deputy chairman for 2020-21.

The district elected a new chairman where others have not in recent weeks.

This week, it was confirmed that the mayor of Basingstoke and Deane, Cllr Diane Taylor, would be remaining in position for a second successive year as the "time wasn't right" to hand over to her deputy. And the same happened at Test Valley Borough Council earlier this month, where Cllr Martin Hatley revealed that a number of districts in Hampshire were doing the same.