COLCHESTER Council is back to business as usual following the authority’s annual general meeting.

At Colchester Town Hall yesterday councillors and members of the public gathered for the town’s traditional Mayor Making ceremony.

Councillor Nick Cope (Lib Dem, New Town and Christchurch) was sworn in during the ceremony after his year as deputy in 2018/19, replacing Conservative Peter Chillingworth.

Mr Cope, a retired civil servant, will be supported by his wife and the new mayoress Elizabeth.

Gazette: Elizabeth and Nick CopeElizabeth and Nick Cope

He has chosen eight charities to support over the coming year - Citizen’s Advice Bureau, Mercury Theatre, Colchester Chinese Association, Youth Enquiry Service, Age Concern, Army Benevolent Fund, Colchester Foodbank and Mind.

Mr Cope, who is a father of four and has ten grandchildren, said: “Being nominated as Colchester’s Mayor is a great honour, a huge privilege and a wonderful opportunity to meet communities across the borough.

“I am tremendously excited to be this year’s Mayor and am very much looking forward to all of the good work we can achieve in the months to come.”

Beverly Oxford (Ind, Highwoods) was sworn in as deputy mayor. Her husband Gerard will be her escort over the coming year.

Following the Mayor Making ceremony, the council’s new cabinet was formerly selected.

Lib Dem Mark Cory will begin his second year as council leader whilst also dealing with council strategy.

Julie Young replaces her husband Tim as deputy leader of the council and she will also be portfolio holder for culture and performance.

New cabinet member Adam Fox (Lab) will be responsible for housing and fellow ward councillor Mike Lilley (Lab) will remain in position with a tweaked role encompassing community, wellbeing and public safety.

Theresa Higgins (Lib Dem) also brings a fresh perspective as the head of commercial services.

Lib Dem leader Martin Goss remains as waste, environment and transportation boss and David King, also Lib Dem, will cover business and resources.

Gerard Oxford (Ind, Highwoods) will take over as councillor responsible for customers whilst she is deputy mayor.

Gazette: Colchester Council's new cabinet Colchester Council's new cabinet

After losing two seats during the elections earlier this month the Conservatives, who are the largest group on the council, will no longer chair the council’s planning committee.

Labour’s Cyril Liddy will take the role with Lib Dem Andrea Luxford-Vaughan as deputy.

Chris Pearson (Lab) will chair the governance and audit committee and Dave Harris (Lab) will head licensing. Nick Barlow, who has left the cabinet, will chair the Local Plan committee, Phil Coleman will head policy and public initiatives.

Conservative Beverly Davies will chair the scrutiny and crime and disorder panels.