‘A sense the job isn’t done’ for council leader as election looms

Leader of Nottingham City Council, Cllr David Mellen
By Joe Locker, Local Democracy Reporter

David Mellen may seek to extend his leadership of Nottingham City Council following the upcoming local election, saying “there is a sense in which the job is not finished”.

Nottingham’s residents will head to the polls in the local council election on May 4 2023. The city council elections are held every four years.

Nottingham is regarded as a Labour council stronghold, with 50 of 55 seats currently belonging to Labour councillors.

Of the remaining seats, three belong to the Nottingham Independents and two are held by the Conservative Party.

During the last local council election in 2019, Dales ward councillor Mr Mellen took charge of the authority upon the resignation of Jon Collins, who had held the position for 16 years.

When asked if he is considering standing for leader again following the May vote, Cllr Mellen told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “The elections will take place in May and I’m going to be standing as a candidate in Dales ward for the Labour Party, and after that Labour Group will choose their leader.

“There is a sense in which the job is not finished.

“There are further things to do to bring about improvement and stability, but whoever is the leader of the council will be chosen by those Labour councillors successful in the election in May.”

Cllr Mellen was first elected to serve on the council in 1995 and has served as an executive councillor for more than a decade.

He has overseen drastic change within the Labour-run authority, and faced enormous financial challenges and controversy.

A public interest report into the failings of council-owned Robin Hood Energy was released a year after his appointment as leader.

Following the report, the Government appointed an independently-chaired improvement board, which remains in place overseeing financial and cultural change.

Considerable challenges remain as the council’s budget tightens, with a need to fill a £32m black hole in 2023/24, alongside a requirement to improve its failing children’s services.

Funding for the redevelopment of much of the former Broadmarsh Centre is also in serious doubt, with the authority having failed to secure £20m from the Levelling Up fund in a second round bid.

Of the upcoming election Cllr Mellen added: “I think it will be a combination of people being frustrated with their own lot, and central Government as well as having views about Nottingham City Council, and so we will be open and talking to people out on the streets as we do all year round, all four years, not just before an election.

“I was out delivering leaflets at the weekend in other parts of the city, knocking on doors constantly, really, at the weekends.

“It is always good to hear what people are saying out in the community.”

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