Packed council chamber welcomes new Mayor of Enfield

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The borough's new mayor was greeted by a packed council chamber at the first full council meeting since the election.

Councillor Ali Bakir had invited more than 200 guests, filling the chamber to the brim as he was officially named Mayor of Enfield.

The new mayor jokingly added that he had tried to book the O2 arena for the big occasion but it was “sold out”.

Upper Edmonton ward councillor Patricia Ekechi was announced as deputy mayor for the next 12 months.

As well as the pleasantries that kicked off the night’s proceedings, cabinet members were officially appointed, as well as much-discussed associate cabinet members.

Cllr Bambos Charalambous, Cllr George Savva and Cllr Ozzie Uzoanya will take the new roles in Enfield West, South East Enfield and North Enfield respectively.

These appointments, along with the reduction in overview and scrutiny committees and change in area forums to ward forums, were lambasted by the Conservative opposition.

Cllr Mike Rye described by associate appointments as “gerrymandering” and noting the areas the members would cover resembled the three parliamentary constituencies in the borough, claiming Labour were spending “public money” for electioneering.

Deputy leader of the council Achilleas Georgiou denied the claims. He said: “This is a changing environment and we have to see how we can better serve the residents and business in this borough.

“This scrutiny structure is used by all colours across the country and we are adopting a structure that is effective.

“Each of us is very much a ward councillor, and reforming the area forums allows us to get closer to our residents. The ACMs will also allow us to bring together a process of regeneration and change.”

Despite attempts to defer these decisions by newly appointed head of the Conservative group Terry Neville, the council voted in favour of the amendments.

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