New council leader vows to put Walsall first, regardless of political colour
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New council leader vows to put Walsall first, regardless of political colour

The new leader of Walsall Borough Council has promised a “Walsall First approach” at his first full council meeting in his new role. Councillor Garry Perry was appointed to the role after the sudden resignation of Councillor Mike Bird last month.

Not only has the council’s leadership changed, but it is now working with a new national government following the general election and a new West Midlands Mayor, Richard Parker, who was elected in May.

Party leader Garry Perry delivered his report at last night’s meeting, making clear his intention not to let party colours get in the way of the council’s work. He said: “We have a new government, we have a new regional mayor. It is in the interests of Walsall, whatever their political colour, that we work with them constructively.”

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“I have already started those relationships with the Mayor of the West Midlands, whose approach is very similar to that announced by the Prime Minister. We will not agree on everything, but no one has any interest in turning away because of a political colour or the colour of the cockade.”

“We must put Walsall first in everything we do and, where I can, I will work constructively with the Government, with our regional mayor and others, to ensure that Walsall benefits from the investment that I hope will come.”

Councillors wanted to know how the new leader plans to tackle the problem of fly-tipping that is plaguing the community. Last year, the council issued nearly 500 fines for fly-tipping and more than 20 for fly-tipping. Councillor Perry said he would continue with a “zero tolerance” approach and hoped the new government would introduce penalties for fly-tipping, such as losing a driver’s licence.

Along with illegal dumping, inequality and community tensions have been put to the test for the new leader. Opposition Leader Councillor Matt Ward wanted to know if Councillor Perry would reach out to community leaders to try to “calm” tensions.