Council leader steps down after nine years at the helm

11 May 2016

The Leader of South Cambridgeshire District Council has announced he is standing down from the role after deciding it was time for “fresh blood” to take up the reins.

Cllr Ray Manning was first elected as Leader in January 2007 when the Council was struggling, had to make huge in year cuts and was on the brink of being put into special measures.

Under Cllr Manning’s leadership over the last nine years the Council has focussed on delivering high quality and value for money services.

The Council is now one of the top performing in the country and has recently been recognised nationally for its innovative approach to generating income by setting up its own housing company.

South Cambridgeshire District Council has also began sharing more services with Cambridge City and Huntingdonshire District Councils over the last two years as part of a strategic partnership. This move has saved hundreds of thousands of pounds for taxpayers.

Cllr Manning was first elected as a District Councillor for Willingham and Over in May 2004. In May 2006 he was appointed by Council as the Environmental Services Portfolio Holder before taking on the role as Leader.

Cllr Manning took on the role as local councillor from his late father, Tony, who became a councillor on 8 May 1990. Cllr Tony Manning was a prominent member of the Planning Committee and Vice Chairman of the Land Drainage Advisory Group and also served as a County Councillor.

Ray Manning’s grandfather, Maurice, served as a councillor on Chesterton Rural District Council in the late 1960s before it amalgamated with South Cambridgeshire District Council.

Cllr Manning will continue to represent the villages of Willingham and Over as a backbench councillor.

The Conservative group will now elect a new leader of their group. The Leader of the Council will be announced at the Annual General Meeting on 19 May.

Cllr Ray Manning, said: “It has been an absolute honour to serve South Cambridgeshire as the Leader of the Council for the past nine years. I am now at a time in my life when I need to listen to the real boss – my wife Marion – and let fresh blood take up the reins at the Council. The approach to delivering services to our communities has evolved considerably over recent years to make sure we have been able to meet the challenges of continued budget cuts from Government and with more in front of us, such as devolution and shared services, it is the right time for me to stand aside.

“When I became the Leader of the Council it was in no overall control and a long way from the modern and well managed authority we are today. I would like to thank all the councillors who have helped to raise standards with me and also a huge thank you to our staff for their dedication."

Cllr Manning is an orchard fruit grower, like his father and grandfather before him. He has also been a Parish Councillor for 25 years and is still a member of Willingham Parish Council.