A SENIOR Wyre Forest councillor has stepped down from her role, resulting in a shake-up of the ruling group.

Councillor Sara Fearn has stood down from Wyre Forest District Council and Stourport Town Council - including her role as district council cabinet member for transformation and change - as she prepares to move to Devon soon.

Cllr Fearn said: "It has been an honour to represent the people of Stourport-on-Severn and I am sad to have to step down.

"While a member of the district council I have been greatly impressed by my fellow councillors, who all work long and hard for the people in their wards.

"I also cannot speak highly enough of the staff and officers of the council, whose commitment, experience and ability make the many services we provide possible.

"I have been proud to work with people who integrity and talent provide strong, consistent and often innovative leadership to Wyre Forest District Council."

As a result of her resignation, the leader of Wyre Forest District Council, Councillor Marcus Hart has today (February 27) informed councillors of changes he is making to membership and portfolios within his cabinet.

Councillor Chris Rogers joins the cabinet as the member for housing, health and well-being. He was chairman of the district council in 2015/16 and is currently the vice-chairman of the planning committee - a role which he will continue until a new vice-chairman is appointed in May.

Councillor Juliet Smith will now be the cabinet member for culture, leisure and community protection.

Cllr Hart said: "I am very sorry to lose Sara Fearn's services from my cabinet and also to see her contribution as district and town councillor in Stourport-on-Severn comes to an end.

"She has provided effective leadership for her portfolio and brought fresh perspectives to the work of the cabinet, but I understand entirely her decision to stand down given her impending relocation to the south west.

"I know that colleagues on the council will join me in wishing her well for the future."

Cllr Hart added: "I was pleased to invite Chris Rogers to join the cabinet. He is an experienced councillor, having filled a number of senior roles and I look forward to his contribution in the cabinet.

"I have taken the opportunity to align the portfolios of cabinet members more closely with the management structure and also to reflect the heightened importance of housing, following the Government's housing white paper."

The rest of the cabinet will remain the same with Councillor Nathan Desmond staying as cabinet member for resources, Councillor Ian Hardiman as cabinet member for planning and economic regeneration and Councillor Rebecca Vale as cabinet member for operational services.

The vacancy on the district council, following the resignation of Cllr Fearn has been advertised by the returning officer and it is expected that a by-election will be held on Thursday, May 4.

The vacancy on Stourport-on-Severn Town Council will also be advertised.

The next meeting of Wyre Forest District Council's cabinet meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 14, from 6pm and will be open to the public. The meeting will also be webcast and can be viewed online at wyreforestdc.gov.uk.