LABOUR Cllr Steve Lydon has been elected as the new leader of Stroud District Council.

Cllr Lydon will take over from Geoff Wheeler, who stepped down at the May elections after years of service, leading the rainbow coalition which includes the Green Party and the Liberal Democrats.

The councillor said Labour have a “clear set of priorities”, which include investing in business and completing the council house building programme.

The labour group elected Cllr Lydon, who represents the Stanleys on SDC, as leader at their AGM last Thursday.

Cllr Lydon said: “I look forward to working with all members of the council from all parties.

“We have a clear set of priorities as the Labour group that we will look to implement over the next four years for the benefit of the people of our district.

“These include investing in the local economy, completing our council house building programme and working closely with other housing providers to provide even more homes.

“We also plan to expand our health and wellbeing agenda to help people in the area lead healthier, happier lives.”

The Labour group also elected Cllr Doina Cornell (Dursley) as Group Deputy Leader.

“We have quite a few newly elected councillors who bring a wealth of new experience to our team, from community leadership to work in the public and private sectors,” said Cllr Cornell.

“I’m very proud that our group is also finally gender balanced with half our members now women.

“This means our group is a true reflection of the communities that we are proud to represent.

"I hope the other political parties will do all they can to encourage more women to step forward, as they are still well behind the Labour group on achieving gender parity.”