Following the resignation of Ken Hind, an Extraordinary Meeting of the Conservative Group on Ribble Valley Borough Council took place on the evening of Friday 04th January to Elect a New Leader.
The Group unanimously backed the current Deputy Leader, Stephen Atkinson, to become the New Group Leader and thereby Leader of Ribble Valley Borough Council who will lead the Conservatives in the Borough Council Elections taking place later this year in May.
Stephen is a first term Councillor being elected in May 2015. He currently represents the Billington and Old Langho Ward alongside fellow Ward Councillor Cllr Ged Mirfin.
During his time on the Council Stephen has served on a number of Committees including: Accounts and Audit, the recently established Economic Development Committee, Licensing, Planning & Development, Personnel (which he was Chair of) and Policy and Finance (which he was Deputy Chair of until his Election as Group Leader). He is also a Trustee of Clitheroe Royal Grammar School Foundation.
Stephen is an Engineer by Profession and currently runs an educational furniture business with his Brother Malcolm. They started their first business venture together at the age of 21. In addition they have gone on to invest in commercial and industrial properties in the area.
Stephen resides on Brockhall Village with his wife Lisa and his two sons Harry and Oliver. Stephen is a devoted family man with a great love for the outdoors and enjoys skiing, motorcycling, sailing and walking in his spare time.
Stephen is passionate about the Ribble Valley, having lived here all of his adult life and is motivated and dedicated to keeping it the special place that it is. He will do his upmost to ensure that the Council continue to deliver an excellent service for residents right across the Ribble Valley.
Stephen states, “ I would like to take the opportunity to thank my Conservative colleagues for electing me as their new Leader. I truly believe that the future of this beautiful place can be a bright one if we stay on a consistent track, stand firm on our policies and deliver on our promises to the residents of the Ribble Valley. I am determined and focussed on tangible output and will encourage all conservative members to help deliver them.”
Stephen will be standing as a Conservative Candidate in the Borough Council Elections in May this year having been adopted for the new Single Member Ward of Brockhall and Dinckley.
Following his Election as Group Leader, Stephen vacated the role of Deputy Leader and Rupert Swarbrick was Elected in his stead and thereby becomes Deputy Leader of Ribble Valley Borough Council.
Rupert is a second term Councillor being elected for the first time in 2011. He currently represents the Dilworth Ward in Longridge alongside fellow Ward Councillor, Cllr Ken Hind. Rupert was recently re-selected to fight the two Member Ward in the forthcoming Borough Council Elections.
During his time on the Council Rupert has served on a number of Committees including: Licensing, Community Services, Health and Housing, Parish Council Liaison, Planning & Development Policy and Finance and is currently the Chair of the recently established Economic Development Committee.
Rupert is also a former Chairman of Ribble Valley Strategic Partnership, Longridge Partnership, Lancashire Rural Development Board and Board Member of the East Lancashire Partnership. Rupert has served 14 years on Longridge Town Council and was Mayor twice. He is Currently Chairman of the Governors of Barnacre Road School and member of the Ribble Valley Children and Family Wellbeing Service Advisory Board.
Rupert set up the Longridge Social Enterprise Company in 2005 retiring from that in 2014 leaving it solvent and in good hands. In 2011 he was co-founder of Boundless Networks, a fixed wireless internet provider. In 2018 Rupert moved back into management for a Manchester based property company..
Rupert wishes to consolidate on recent successes, exploit new opportunities.
He states, “As Deputy Leader of the Conservative Group on Ribble Valley Borough Council I aim to build solid relationships with all in our community to ensure that Ribble Valley remains an amazing place to live work and play.”
Cllr Ged Mirfin, the Deputy Chair (Political) of Ribble Valley Conservative Association states, “I would like to offer Stephen and Rupert congratulations for their Election to the Leadership and Deputy Leadership of the Conservative Group on Ribble Valley Borough Council and look forward to working very closely indeed with both of them in the coming weeks and months in what will be a pivotal Election Year.”
David Peat, Chair of Ribble Valley Conservative Association, states, “I welcome Stephen and Rupert as Members of the Management Team in the Association and look forward to their input and welcome their energy and resourcefulness as we begin the All-Out Campaign to get as many Conservative Candidates Elected as possible right across the Ribble Valley.”