Arun leader Gill Brown survives leadership challenge

Gill Brown
Gill Brown

Arun District Council leader Gill Brown has survived a leadership challenge by one of her cabinet members.

The challenge was defeated following a vote at the private annual general meeting of Arun’s Conservative group last night (Thursday, March 2).

West Sussex Gazette coverage on the day Gill Brown took over as Arun leader in 2006

West Sussex Gazette coverage on the day Gill Brown took over as Arun leader in 2006

It is understood cabinet member for environmental services Terry Chapman was bidding to become leader, while fellow cabinet member Paul Dendle was lined-up to replace Dudley Wensley as deputy leader.

The duo have not commented.

In a statement, Mrs Brown said: “At the Conservative group AGM last night Dudley Wensley and I were re-elected as deputy leader and leader for the coming year.

“As usual nominations for cabinet and chairman and vice-chairman of committees will be presented to council at the AGM in May.”

Mrs Brown has been in post since May, 2006, when she took over from councillor Norman Dingemans.

She faced calls to resign in August, 2015, when a letter was signed by 159 residents.

The open letter followed the suspension of the local plan and also urged cabinet member for planning and infrastructure Ricky Bower to step down.

Opposition Liberal Democrat councillors lodged a motion of no confidence in February last year, with delays to the local plan also the criticism.

Conservative colleagues leapt to the duo’s defence, defeating the motion by 32 votes to three.

According to an article in the West Sussex Gazette on the day she took up the leadership, Mrs Brown vowed to tackle the issue of affordable housing, keep council tax low and push for an A27 Arundel bypass.

She spoke of an ‘exciting stage’ in the regeneration of Bognor Regis – a topic still being discussed by councillors today.

Development of Littlehampton’s West Bank – now earmarked for hundreds of homes in the local plan – was also mentioned as a long-term vision.