THE new chair of North Yorkshire County Council said she is a “tough cookie” as she was sworn in for the final year of the authority.

Conservative councillor Margaret Atkinson – who represents Masham and Fountains – was yesterday (Wednesday, May 18) appointed as the last ever chair of the county council before it is replaced by a new unitary authority next year.

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She takes over from Ripon councillor Stuart Martin who served as chair over the last 12 months.

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, Cllr Atkinson said it is a “great honour” to take on the role.

She said: “I’m quite excited – it is the last year of the county council so there is a lot of work to do and a lot of effort to be put in by everybody.

The Northern Echo: Conservative councillor Margaret AtkinsonConservative councillor Margaret Atkinson

“I want to say many thanks to councillor Martin for everything he did.

“I probably have some big boots to fill, but I haven’t got very big feet.”

Cllr Atkinson – who described herself as “Yorkshire through and through” – has served nine years on the county council and 20-years on Harrogate Borough Council.

She is a semi-retired farmer and also secretary of the Yorkshire and North East branch of the British Charolais Cattle Society.

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At a full county council meeting yesterday, Bentham and Ingleton councillor David Ireton also became the new deputy chairman.

The Conservative councillor will take on the chairmanship of the new North Yorkshire Council next year when the county council and seven district and borough councils are abolished.

Also at yesterday’s meeting, Conservative county council leader Carl Les was re-elected into the role.

He appointed a new ten-person executive which faces the challenge of mapping out the creation of the new North Yorkshire Council before it takes over control of all council services across England’s largest county from April next year.


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