Melton lands plum job

PUBLISHED: 11:02 16 May 2007 | UPDATED: 22:47 28 May 2010

Story by JOHN ELWORTHY COUNCILLOR Alan Melton s meteoric return to power was completed this week as he landed one of the plum jobs in the new Fenland District Council cabinet. Less than a fortnight after being asked to join the cabinet at Cambridgeshire C

Story by JOHN ELWORTHY

COUNCILLOR Alan Melton's meteoric return to power was completed this week as he landed one of the plum jobs in the new Fenland District Council cabinet.

Less than a fortnight after being asked to join the cabinet at Cambridgeshire County Council, in charge of corporate services and a £550million budget, Cllr Melton now finds himself back at Fenland Hall as well, with the 'open for business' portfolio.

It completes a hat trick of appointments for Cllr Melton, who was recently asked to join a team of councillors from across the country helping under-performing local authorities.

"There is a big job to be done and I am really relishing the challenge of being back at Fenland Hall," said Cllr Melton.

No one was more surprised than Cllr Melton himself to be invited by Fenland Council leader, Councillor Geoff Harper, to join the top table.

"There was no pre-warning, it was just bounced on the Conservative group," said Cllr Melton. "Cllr Harper had been dropping hints but it was still a surprise the way it came out.

"He told the group he didn't intend to make any changes to the cabinet, except one, and that would leave a vacancy which he asked me to take on.

"Geoff said 'will you do it for me and do it for Fenland'. I know what I have said in the past, and I don't deny it, but we have a big group for Geoff to manage.

"How I feel in the light of the election results, and what has happened to me at county level, has shown that the economic prosperity of Fenland is far bigger than personal grievances and grudges."

He added: "Despite what's been said in the past, I shall get on with it."

Cllr Melton's acceptance of the key cabinet post means he will be working alongside Councillor Peter Skoulding, who retains the finance portfolio, and differences between the two have been well documented.

However Cllr Harper, who previously held the open for business portfolio, believes both councillors have much to contribute in his new line-up.

"Alan's portfolio will basically be to encourage inward investment and look after planning policy," said Cllr Harper.

"He's got immense experience. I think he was quite pleased to be asked."

Cllr Harper added: "One of my ambitions is to try to encourage a mini science park at Chatteris and that will be within Alan's remit too."

All other cabinet posts remain unchanged, except for the decision not to appoint an arts and culture portfolio holder following the retirement of Ann Carlisle.

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