THE cabinet member in charge of waste services in St Helens has stepped down in order to self-isolate from the coronavirus.

Labour’s Lynn Clarke has been in charge of the environmental services portfolio since March 2018.

However,  the Town Centre ward councillor became unwell in the New Year and has been on sick leave from council duties since February.

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Cllr Clarke has an underlying health issue and is one of the many people, along with the over 70s, who are at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

Subsequently, Cllr Clarke – who was not re-selected to stand in the Town Centre ward in the now-delayed 2020 local elections – has decided to step down from her cabinet position.

“Unfortunately, due to ongoing medical issues, I have had to take some time away from council,” Cllr Clarke said.

“I am now abiding by government advice and self-isolating for a longer period.

“Consequently, I have decided to step down from my cabinet position in order that the portfolio can receive the full commitment and attention it so rightly deserves.”

Cllr Clarke’s departure has seen former cabinet member and one-time hopeful leader of the council Andy Bowden return to the fray.

The former deputy leader resigned as the cabinet member for balanced development, housing and economic opportunity, in February 2019.

Cllr Bowden was also the cabinet member for children, families and young people between August 2015 and May 2017, where he served as deputy council leader for part of that time.

He will now take up the role immediately and lead on supporting critical services such as waste and recycling, parks and green spaces, infrastructure and regulatory services so that they can continue to provide vital support during this difficult period for residents.

“I would like to pass on my thanks and admiration to every member of council staff working in environmental services,” Cllr Clarke said.

“They all do a tremendous job under difficult circumstances and I have been proud to get to know them and work alongside them.

“I leave the portfolio in the very capable hands of my good colleague, Cllr Andy Bowden, and wish him well in the challenging times ahead.

“I remain a Town Centre councillor and will be continuing my work supporting residents in the ward.”

St Helens Star: Former deputy council leader Andy Bowden has taken over the environmental services portfolio Former deputy council leader Andy Bowden has taken over the environmental services portfolio

St Helens Council leader David Baines thanked Cllr Clarke for her services and welcomed Cllr Bowden back into cabinet.

Cllr Baines said: “Lynn has sadly had to step down from cabinet for health reasons.

“I wish her all the best and I look forward to welcoming her back to council
in due course.

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“I am very happy that Andy Bowden has accepted my invitation to take on the environmental services portfolio.

“This role is responsible for overseeing a range of important services and I know that Andy has the experience and skills to do a terrific job for the council and the people of St Helens, at what is a difficult and challenging time for all of us.”