WYRE Forest District Council held their annual general meeting yesterday evening (Wednesday, May 22) to vote on motions for the upcoming year and formally appoint their new leader.

Members of the council attended a full meeting which included the appointment of Councillor Shazu Miah as chairman and Councillor Peter Young as vice chairman, as well as Councillor Graham Ballinger as the new Leader of the Council.

The council voted in favour of plans to reintroduce the committee structure in the council, in a motion that recognised that "the Leader and Cabinet structure leads to many backbench Councillors feeling that they have little opportunity for active involvement."

Council Leader Graham Ballinger said: "We believe if we go to a committee structure after full consultation, we will do away with this 'us and them' situation," which many parties feel."

A green motion was made by Liberal Democrat Councillor Fran Oborski which would allow every child in Wyre Forest schools to become involved in planting a tree, to play a part in helping tackle climate change.

The motion, which would see around 6,000 trees planted, was seconded by the first Green Party councillor Vicky Caulfield, who said: "we all have a responsibility to do our bit.”

Conservative Councillor Nathan Desmond said that the motion was “slightly premature” and that there needs to be a coherent business case behind the proposition."

He said it was a "credible proposition" but that costing needed to be made.

A motion was also carried to ensure that adequate electric vehicle charging points are provided in Council-owned public car parks, and to encourage the owners of privately-owned car parks to do likewise.

A motion was made relating to housing waiting lists and the building of social rental housing constructed on land already in public ownership.

She said: “We have a desperate need for housing to be built for social rental. We have thousands of people who simply cannot afford what they are told is an affordable rent.”

The motion received a named vote and was carried unanimously.

After his initiation as council leader, Councillor Ballinger said: "It's an exciting time we believe for the people of the Wyre Forest."

"It's time for a fresh look at the way things are done."

"We will continue to improve services and generate financial savings, delivering value for money for residents.

"There is no room for complacency, and we have a major challenge ahead to close our projected funding gap of two million pounds."