I hope as many of you as possible were able to enjoy a break with friends and loved ones over the bank holiday weekend.
I know many people will have enjoyed watching the Coronation of King Charles III and the various events and celebrations held nationally and locally here in Exeter. If you held a street party, I hope you were able to enjoy it despite the weather.
Last week we had the local elections and I wish to congratulate all the successful candidates. I’d also like to thank all retiring councillors for their hard work.
I hope all new councillors will be able to work for the benefit of the city in the face of continued cuts in our funding from central government.
It was an excellent night for Labour around the country and in particular I’d like to congratulate my colleagues in Plymouth for retaking control of the Council.
Here in Exeter the ruling Labour Group, which I lead, won 7 of the 13 seats with the remainder spread across the other 3 parties in opposition. With the Conservatives at the back of the pack only winning one seat.
This result meant that we retained the same number of seats as before the election, and our majority on the Council is unchanged. I want to thank everyone for their continued support.
We have been in power now for 13 years and still have a big majority, so we must be something right – but we never take anything for granted and will continue to work as hard as we can for all the residents of our city.
A lot of work will now take place to ensure that we are in the best position to deliver on the manifesto for which we have a mandate.
We will continue to focus on our key priorities of providing quality housing, fighting climate change, providing great services and supporting our communities and neighbourhoods across the city.
We will work in collaboration with our key partners to ensure Exeter continues to be successful and all residents continue to enjoy a great quality of life.
Annual Council will be held next week, on Tuesday 16 May, when the appointment of the Executive, Portfolio Holders and Committees will be made.
Council will also be asked to elect a new Lord Mayor of Exeter, Cllr Kevin Mitchell, and Deputy Lord Mayor, Cllr Tess Read. I’d like to thank outgoing Lord Mayor Yolonda Henson and Deputy Rob Newby for all their hard work over the last year. I am sure Cllr Mitchell will do an excellent job in performing his mayoral duties while raising money for his chosen charity and highlighting good causes.
Talking of which, the Exeter Community Lottery is launching shortly, and will be a great way of raising much-needed funds for a wide variety of good causes who do so much great work in our communities across the city.
It was the final game of the season for Exeter City on Saturday and a great way to end what has proved to be a very encouraging first season back in League One.
It was very special for Jay Stansfield to score a hat trick in what is likely to be his last game for Exeter before returning to his parent club Fulham, and I want to join all Exeter City fans in thanking him for what he has done on loan this season and to wish him all the very best for the future.
Finally I want to pay tribute to a number of Exeter Chiefs players who will be leaving the club at the end of the season, including Jack Nowell, who has a well-deserved testimonial coming up.
The reduction in the Premiership salary cap means there will be plenty of changes for the Chiefs, with some players leaving the club including home grown academy talents like Dave Ewers, Harry Williams, Jack Maunder and Joe Simmonds.
They have given us so many fantastic memories over the years, but as one era ends another one begins, and I know that with the fantastic support for the Chiefs right across the city and beyond, the club can look forward to many more successful years in the future.