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Councillor Brian Wilcox steps down as cabinet member

The Local Development Framework (LDF) is one of the most significant policy documents for the county - it is effectively the blueprint for future land use and provides the strategic planning framework within which the needs of our communities can be met including the provision of homes, jobs, community facilities and the protection of our natural environment.

It is therefore vital to ensure that due process has been followed in its development, and that local people and businesses have every opportunity to make their views about the future of the county known. As cabinet member for environment, housing and planning, Cllr Wilcox has been leading on this strategy.

In recent weeks, due to a number of factors and to ensure the process is robust enough to face challenge, it has been decided that further consultation on the final draft proposals (clarifying all the previously outstanding points), should take place before they are formally considered by Council and then submitted to the planning inspectorate.

This will enable everyone to understand the proposals which have been built over time and ensure that any potential risks arising from recent case law have been addressed. At the next full meeting of Council, members will be asked to agree to an extension of the current timetable to enable the further consultation to take place.

Cllr Brian Wilcox, who is also a member of Hereford City Council, will be taking on the role of Mayor of Hereford in May. Earlier this year, at a meeting of Hereford City Council, he made a public commitment that he would not continue in his cabinet role on Herefordshire Council if a significant conflict of interest arose between those two authorities.

The LDF is already a matter of concern to Hereford City Council and Cllr Wilcox wishes to avoid such a conflict of interest while the proposals are again put out to public consultation. He has therefore decided to accept the offer from Herefordshire Council Leader, Cllr John Jarvis, to take a sabbatical during his year as Mayor. This means that he will step down from his cabinet role for environment, housing and planning with effect from Monday, May 21; the day that he is to be installed as Mayor of Hereford.

“The LDF is crucial for the future of Herefordshire, and, as such, it deserves the commitment, passion and drive I have been able to give it as cabinet member,” said Cllr Wilcox. “However, with the proposed further consultation and the conflict of interest that is likely to result, I feel it would be inappropriate for me to continue in my cabinet position. As a member of Herefordshire Council, I will, of course, continue to support the achievement of this vital strategy.”

Cllr John Jarvis, Leader of Herefordshire Council, said: “I would like to place on record my thanks to Brian for all the energy and knowledge he has brought to this role and I look forward to working with him in the future; we will of course continue to benefit from his contributions as a member of this council.”

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The remaining elements of Cllr Wilcox’s portfolio will be allocated among fellow cabinet colleagues, while Cllr Jarvis will take personal responsibility for the LDF. These changes will be reported to the next full meeting of Council.