Young in as Lancs looks to new faces

Stephen Young, director of place at Bolton Council, is to join Lancashire County Council as its executive director of growth, environment, transport and community services, taking the role from April.

The Lancashire position was newly created by a management restructure, voted through in October, in what was a tumultuous year at the council.

Angie Ridgwell, interim chief executive and director of resources, said: “We’re really pleased that Stephen is joining Lancashire County Council. He brings a depth of experience and will be a real asset to the county.

“This is a key position with responsibility for some of our biggest services. Stephen will be instrumental in the economic development of the county and will deliver a range of ambitious and major projects across Lancashire, as well as oversee the operational delivery of key services.”

Young’s role will cover highways, economic development, planning, public transport, waste management, libraries and museums. The brief also includes maximising opportunities to bring projects and funding to Lancashire through the Preston, South Ribble & Lancashire City Deal, the Growth Deal, Transport for the North, and the Northern Powerhouse.

At Bolton, Young has led on the development and launch of town centre masterplanning and development, taking over as director of place in January 2016. He had been at Bolton since 2008, previously working as head of policy at Oldham Council and working at Burnley before that.

Ridgwell, an experienced council troubleshooter who has moved from a senior role at the Department for Business Energy & Industrial Strategy to take on a 12-month contract with Lancashire, said: “In common with councils across the country, we have unprecedented financial challenges. This makes it crucial that we have the right senior team in place to make sure that we’re providing the best-possible services for the people of Lancashire. I’m really pleased to welcome Stephen to the team.”

Young said: “I am so looking forward to joining Lancashire County Council and continuing to build on the great work that is already taking place. Lancashire is an amazing place with exceptional people and I can’t wait to get started.”

Previous chief executive Jo Turton left in December along with four other senior officers, following a restructure initiated by leader Cllr Geoff Driver.

Driver, who had previously been leader until 2013, reassumed the position after the Conservatives won control of the council in May and made restructuring a priority, declaring that the outgoing Labour administration had failed to cut costs. He survived a vote of no confidence at the October council meeting that voted in favour of the restructuring.

Along with three other men including Ged Fitzgerald, suspended as chief executive of Liverpool City Council, Driver remains on bail as part of a police investigation into the tendering of a contract with One Connect, a joint venture established to run contracts between Lancashire County Council and BT. The four were re-bailed in November for a further three months.

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