Epping Forest’s council has revealed its new leaders and cabinet members during the latest annual meeting. 

Les Burrows will take over from councillor Darshan Sunger as chairman of the council. 

Mr Sunger, who was the first Sikh chairman, will continue to be part of the council, taking care of the wards Chigwell and Lambourne. 

Mr Burrows was elected as councillor six years ago and humbly accepted his new position. 

Epping Forest Guardian: Chairmen - Chairman Les Burrows shaking hands with outgoing chairman councillor Darshan SungerChairmen - Chairman Les Burrows shaking hands with outgoing chairman councillor Darshan Sunger (Image: Epping Forest District Council)

He said: “As councillors, we all know not to take the will of our residents for granted. I would therefore like to say a very big thank you to the residents of Epping Forest who returned me at the elections for another term in office. Without them, I really would not have been here tonight. 

“It is a great honour that I humbly accept, and this chain of office represents the responsibility you have placed upon me. I shall do my utmost to live up to your expectations. 

“It has been a pleasure to support Darshan with his official engagements. Darshan, you have inspired me with confidence, and I hope I can live up to the high standards that you have set.” 

Mr Burrows has chosen to support the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance for the charity during his time as chairman. 

He is joined by Louise Mead, the new vice-chairman, who was also elected at the annual council meeting on May 23. 

Following the local elections, 14 new councillors joined Epping Forest Council and new electoral ward boundaries were introduced. 

Chris Whitbread remains council leader and has taken the opportunity to make changes to his cabinet. 

Nigel Bedford was appointed deputy leader and the portfolio for Housing and HGGT, Ken Williamson holds the Shaping our District portfolio, while Holly Whitbred holds the Finance and Economic Development portfolio. 

Ray Balcome holds the responsibility for Contracts Delivery, while Smruti Patel holds the Transformation portfolio. 

New to the cabinet are Tim Matthews, tasked with Commercial and Estates, Kaz Rizvi with Community, Health and Wellbeing and Paul Keska with Regulatory, Technical and Community Safety Services.