Leader of Torridge District Council Ken James has urged his councillors to concentrate on “working together” as he was re-elected for the fifth year.

Cllr James (Ind, Milton and Tamarside) said it was a very important year as levelling up funds of around £20 million were earmarked for Torridge “if we can get our act together”. The money, to be spent on education and employment, has to be spent by next March.

Cllr James said: “I want to appeal to everybody to concentrate on working together to deliver what we need to deliver to get money invested into Torridge. It will lift everybody’s standards, particularly young people’s and their education opportunities.”

James was nominated by Cllr Clare Hodson (Ind, Westward Ho!) who said he had done “a splendid job” as leader.

Cllr Hodson was re-elected for the fifth year as deputy leader. Cllr Doug Bushby (Ind, Bideford North) was re-elected as chair of the council and Cllr Doug Smith (Lib Dem, Great Torrington) was voted in as deputy chair, to succeed Peter Christie (Green, Bideford North) who died in February.

Committee chairmen were elected as follows: community and resources – Cllr Robert Hicks (Ind, Monkleigh and Putford), planning – Cllr Rosemary Lock (Con, Two Rivers and Three Moors), licensing – Cllr Chris Bright (Lib Dem, Great Torrington), audit and governance, Cllr Philip Hackett (Ind, Broadheath), internal overview and scrutiny – Cllr Simon Newton (Con, Winkleigh), external overview and scrutiny – Cllr Cheryl Cottle Hunkin (Lib Dem, Shebbear and Langtree) and standards committee – Cllr Louis Bach (Ind, Westward Ho!).