Janet Blake to oversee case for Vale’s breakaway from Bucks

Neil Blake has appointed his wife Janet to his cabinet
Neil Blake has appointed his wife Janet to his cabinet

District council leader Neil Blake has appointed his wife to oversee the business case for the Vale breaking away from Bucks County Council.

In a cabinet shake-up, Janet Blake has been given the new business transformation brief with responsibility for the council’s commercial approach to the financing of services, the digital strategy and the business case for a unitary authority for the Vale.

Steve Bowles takes over from Sue Polhill as Mr Blake’s deputy, with responsibility for economic development delivery.

Carole Paternoster will continue to lead the district’s growth strategy, Sir Beville Stanier remains in charge of environment and waste, while Howard Mordue has switched from leisure to finance and resources.

The line-up also sees Angela Macpherson brought into cabinet in charge of leisure, communities and civic amenities. Mrs Macpherson was in charge of children’s services at Bucks County Council when it was slammed by Ofsted last year, and stepped down from the post for ‘personal reasons’ in November.

The cabinet is responsible for most day-to-day decisions at the council and determining its policies and budget.

Mr Blake said: “I am delighted to be able to bring together such a strong team as my cabinet. We have a great mix of experience, talent and ideas to really help continue to drive this council forward and deliver good value for every taxpayer’s pound.

“In the next 12 months we know we will undoubtedly face further significant pressures on our budget: a challenge which we will again not shrink from. We now have a dedicated cabinet member for business transformation, who will play a key role in our commercial and entrepreneurial approach as we aim to generate more revenue.

“This will be a transforming cabinet, one that will evolve with the changes Aylesbury Vale will face over the coming years, and I am dedicated to giving the best opportunities to everyone who lives, works and visits our district now, and for generations to come.”

The new chairman of the council is Jenny Bloom, taking over from Michael Rand. Sue Renshell will be the deputy chairman.

The appointments were formally ratified at the annual meeting of AVDC yesterday (Wednesday).