Thursday 25 July 2024
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BREAKING: Nottingham City Council leader David Mellen to step down

Councillor David Mellen will not seek re-election as the Leader of Nottingham City Council in May 2024.

Every year, the majority group of councillors have the chance to choose the person they want to be Leader of the council. Councillor Mellen has been Leader since May 2019.

In those five challenging years he has overseen many changes and difficulties in Nottingham. These have included the Covid 19 Pandemic, reduced council funding, the collapse of intu, the closure of Robin Hood Energy and a government-appointed Improvement Board.

However, these challenges have been matched by successes such as the opening of the new Nottingham Central Library, plans for a renewed Broad Marsh development including a new city centre park, several hundred new council houses and a successfully reopened Nottingham Castle. Councillor Mellen has also led the push for a devolved Combined County Authority in the East Midlands and championed a reading scheme that has delivered thousands of free books to children in Nottingham.

After five years as Leader, Councillor Mellen has decided that he will not put himself forward at the leadership contest in April. He will remain in post until the new Leader is formally appointed at a meeting of all Nottingham City Councillors on 13 May 2024. He will continue to serve as a Labour councillor for the Dales ward in the city.

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Councillor Mellen said: “It has been a privilege to serve the city as Leader for the last five years. There have been many challenges as well as successes – and I have always tried to do my best to provide the leadership that the people of Nottingham deserve. I am grateful for the support and understanding I have received in my time as Leader. After five years in the role, I have made the decision to step aside to allow fresh leadership to continue our council’s journey of improvement.

“I am proud of our continuing vision to improve Nottingham: the ongoing development of the Island Quarter and the revamped Broad Marsh bus station and library, the new Nottingham College campus and the emerging Green Heart will be a legacy for the city in the southern gateway for people who work and visit here.

“We have reopened Nottingham Castle and made it once again a must-see attraction – the jewel in our city’s crown which is now attracting tens of thousands of visitors.

“I have been a champion for Nottingham’s ambition to be a carbon neutral city by 2028. Our climate emergency demands that people in any position of power must take positive action to protect the planet for the future, and Nottingham is leading the country in the steps we have taken to reduce emissions.

“Working with other council leaders in the region, I have been an architect for a devolved authority of combined councils across Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire in the East Midlands, which will allow us to fight for a fairer share of funding for our citizens. This combined authority was approved by Government last month and will see our first elected Mayor in May.

“I have also been an advocate for reading and literacy and have long supported the development of the Nottingham Imagination Library that has given more than half a million free books to children aged 0-5 in our city. This is an important work that I intend to continue as a back bench councillor.

“It was a privilege to lead our city through the hard times of the Covid-19 pandemic. I will always be proud of the way that everybody pulled together to look after those who are most vulnerable in our city during those long months of lockdown. We also stood shoulder to shoulder following the death of the Queen. Last year the city stood together at the Market Square vigil following the shocking murders of three people in our city.

“It’s no secret that our council continues to be in a difficult position. Due to underfunding, we have reluctantly agreed difficult budget cuts and reductions to the services we provide for our city. We have commissioners overseeing the running of the council. We face further budget challenges in future years until a fit and proper model for funding local authorities can be agreed.

“There are challenging times ahead. However, I feel strongly that the journey of improvement that we have started is the right one and that our council remains on the right road to recovery. Now is the time for fresh Leadership to take the council forward further on this journey. I have no doubt that whoever succeeds me as Leader will have a firm foundation and the right support to finish what has been started.

“I love this city; Nottingham has been my home for more than 40 years and will always remain a champion for the people who live here.”

Councillor Mellen was born and educated in Ipswich and came to Nottingham to study at Trent Polytechnic in 1982. He taught for 21 years in the city and county starting his career at Jesse Boot Junior School, continuing at Crossdale Drive Primary in Keyworth and most recently serving as Headteacher at Mellers School in Radford for four years.

He has lived in Sneinton for the last 35 years where he chairs the management committee of Bakersfield Community Centre and supports a variety of other community groups. In May 2015 and 2017, he was the Parliamentary candidate in Rushcliffe for the Labour Party.

He has been a councillor for 22 years and represents the Dales Ward in Nottingham.

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