CREATING stronger communities is the top goal for new Wiltshire Council leader Philip Whitehead, who took the leading seat at the authority this week.

Cllr Whitehead paid tribute to Councillor Jerry Wickham, who had been the main candidate to replace Councillor Jane Scott, but did not run due to a terminal diagnosis.

Speaking in front of full council on Tuesday, Cllr Whitehead named Councillor Richard Clewer as his deputy leader, with two new faces in councillors Allison Bucknell and Ian Blair-Pilling joining the front bench.

Cllr Whitehead said: “I will seek to strengthen communities through area boards, town and parish councils. I don’t think the relationship is what it should be and could be so I will seek to introduce changes to improve this.

“This will make stronger communities to protect the vulnerable. I will ensure each area of the council is performing as it should be and meeting the outcome we have set. When we do so, we will celebrate and if we don’t we will restore it to where we should.

“I will maintain the openness and transparency we have seen under Jane’s leadership. We will continue to be a flagship authority not only through digitisation but ensuring our residents can see someone face-to-face when they need it.”