West Norfolk councillor steps down from environment cabinet role
A West Norfolk councillor has resigned from his cabinet position this week, saying he wants to “make room” for someone who can commit more “energy” to the role.
Ian Devereux, who was cabinet member for environment, officially stepped down from the role at Tuesday’s cabinet meeting, held over the video conference platform Zoom.
Speaking to the Lynn News on Wednesday, Conservative councillor Mr Devereux, who represents Snettisham, said: “It’s quite clear that the way things are going, the council is going to have to go through a major review over the coming months and years because of the pandemic.
“It’s important the people making those decisions are there for the future. I want to make room for someone who can give that commitment.”
He added: “There’s nothing sinister, there’s no negativity about it at all.
“Basically I don’t have the energy to continue. I have taken the job seriously but I’ve been looking to reduce my external involvement for some time now.
“It’s purely and simply the inability to do the workload.”
Mr Devereux, who was elected on to the authority in 2015, and who will continue as a councillor, said he is “looking forward to retirement”.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed what I have been doing.
“I have been there, I have been listened to, and I feel I have made a difference – that’s something quite important I think.”
He said he will continue to contribute to West Norfolk Council from the “backbenches”, and he is still involved in panels, but just not through “such an accountable role”.
Mr Devereux is also involved with a number of trusts and the Environment Agency.
“That will continue and I will still serve the community,” he said.
Mr Devereux said he had received positive comments from officers, members of the opposition and members of his own party following the news on Tuesday.
“They have thanked me for what I have done – I have tried to be fair and reasonable,” he said.
Mr Devereux, who has been involved in local politics since 2011, said the last few years have “certainly helped me get through to a new normal in my life”, after he lost his wife to cancer in 2016.
On accepting Mr Devereux’s resignation from the cabinet on Tuesday, council leader Brian Long said: “It’s a lot of work being environment portfolio holder, I do appreciate that from my time in the role.”
Mr Long said he was looking to announce Mr Devereux’s successor shortly – possibly before the next full council meeting which will be held on Thursday of next week.
He added: “It’s been an absolute pleasure working with you, Ian. You will be greatly missed.”