Newly-hung council loses chief exec

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Chorley town hall is in turmoil today after the council’s chief executive announced her shock departure.

The news came just hours after a gripping election count saw the Conservatives lose overall control over the authority.

On the night Labour managed to bag nine of the 15 seats up for grabs, and ousted veteran politicians Peter Malpas and Nora Ball along the way.

The Tories lost four seats and the Lib Dems one – to ensure no party has overall control of the previously Conservative-run authority.

The new composition of the council is Conservative (23), Labour (20), Liberal Democrat (2) and Independent group (2).

A decision will be made within the next two weeks to say who will lead the council, and it could lead to a coalition or Conservative party minority control.

And, as the political future of the council hung in the balance, Donna Hall – who was appointed as chief executive in 2006 – revealed that she is set to take on a new role at Wigan Council.

The mother-of-two, who currently divides her time between Chorley and Wyre, will become the new deputy chief executive at the Greater Manchester authority and is expected to leave Chorley in August.

Ms Hall, 47, who is set to receive a CBE in June for services to local government, who joined Chorley from Blackburn with Darwen Council, insisted that she had been offered the new job on Wednesday – before the election.

It is not known how this will affect the money-saving shared chief executive role with Wyre Council.

She added: “Wigan is one of the biggest councils in the country and has a budget of £750m. It is a big day for change in Chorley, but I have achieved a lot in the five years that I have been here and I am proud that we have managed to go from a fair rated authority when I joined to one of only two councils in the country to be rated as excellent.

“Chorley Council was also named as the top council to work for in The Times newspaper, which is brilliant when you take into consideration all of the changes we have had to introduce.”

Ms Hall accepted that the authority is facing tough times, having to save £4m as part of Government budget cuts.