Councillor Bernard Bateman MBE has been elected as Chairman of North Yorkshire County Council for the year 2013-14.
Councillor Bateman, a Conservative, represents the Ripon North division. He was first elected (as a Liberal Democrat) in 1999.
In his speech of acceptance at today’s annual meeting of the council at County Hall, Northallerton, Councillor Bateman looked forward to a busy year in the lead up to the Tour de France next July, and said he would be promoting the event throughout his term of office to ensure we get the maximum economic advantages, both during the event but also in the longer term with the worldwide coverage it will receive.
He said he would make the development of business across North Yorkshire a priority, and that he is looking forward to visiting schools – particularly sixth forms – “to talk to them about what we do as a county council, and the need for them to become involved.”
Councillor Bateman acknowledged that local government faces difficult times, but said despite the economic austerity of the past four years the council had managed to freeze council tax while at the same time maintaining services and achieving savings.
Councillor Bateman, who is 69, began his career in local government as a member of Cardiff City Council. He moved from Wales to North Yorkshire in 1978 when the company for which he worked appointed him Sales and Marketing Director of Yorkshire Heating Ltd, later to become Plumb Center.
He has been the chief executive of a number of companies, is a Freeman of the City of London, and in 1989 was appointed an MBE for services to industry. He is married to Linda, and has two sons – Liam, a chartered accountant, and Nicholas, a company director. He lives at Melmerby, near Ripon.
The new Vice-Chairman of the County Council is Councillor Tim Swales, who represents the North Hambleton division.