THE Conservative leader of the council has named his new cabinet in a post-election reshuffle.

Councillor David Renard has shaken things up in a bid to bring what he termed “a mixture of experience and innovation” to the top table.

Priory Vale councillor Toby Elliott, a popular figure among members of all parties, has stood down due to “personal commitments” and Ridgeway councillor Gary Sumner has been chosen to pick up the strategic planning portfolio in Coun Elliott’s stead.

Coun Fionuala Foley, having been the cabinet member for children’s services and school attainment for five years, will be taking on the highways and environment portfolio.

Coun Foley has faced fierce criticism in recent years for her controversial decision to close the town’s children’s centres and opposition councillors will likely view favourably her change of portfolio.

The previous cabinet member for that area, Coun Mary Martin, will move to Coun Foley’s old role.

Coun Garry Perkins will be stepping down from the cabinet in September and he will be working until then with Coun Dale Heenan, who will thereafter take on the newly named town centre portfolio.

Coun Renard said: “The cabinet team I have appointed brings a mixture of experience and innovation that will drive the council towards delivering the vision, priorities and pledges as well as managing the demand for personalised social care services. We will do all this while still keeping council tax as low and affordable as possible.

“As a cabinet we are grateful for the opportunity to serve the people of Swindon. As a Conservative administration we will be working hard all year round to deliver high quality services to all residents of Swindon while keeping council tax fair and affordable.”

Other cabinet roles remain the same: Coun Russell Holland stays as deputy leader and the member responsible for finance, Coun Cathy Martyn retains the housing brief while Coun Brian Ford remains responsible for adult social care.

Coun Oliver Donachie retains the economy portfolio and Coun Keith Williams stays on at corporate and customer services.