Old Dalby man appointed county council chairman

New Leicestershire County Council chairman, Councillor Joe Orson, with his consort, Sharon MaloneNew Leicestershire County Council chairman, Councillor Joe Orson, with his consort, Sharon Malone
New Leicestershire County Council chairman, Councillor Joe Orson, with his consort, Sharon Malone
Former Melton Borough Council leader, Joe Orson, has been appointed chairman of Leicestershire County Council.

The Old Dalby-based former farmer, who is a Conservative, was confirmed in the role at the council’s annual meeting yesterday (Wednesday) after being vice-chairman last year.

Currently in his fifth term serving at County Hall, Councillor Orson represents the Melton Wolds division after previously working for Asfordby division when first elected in 2005.

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He said: “It’s an honour to be able to represent the county council.

"I’m looking forward to meeting Leicestershire residents, celebrating their achievements and seeing in person the great work I know takes place across the county.”Councillor Orson has two sons and comes from a farming family which dates back to the 18th century.

He spent his working career running the Melton-based family farm, which is now operated by one of his sons.

As a former runner and keen walker, Councillor Orson has completed many national trails over the years, including the popular but tough 268-mile Pennine Walk Way.

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Councillor Orson’s partner, Sharon Malone, will be his consort during his term of office as chairman.

He is a long-serving councillor at Melton Borough Council and led the authority from 2017 to 2023, until a Labour/Independent coalition took over following the elections last year.Councillor Orson played a prominent role in the delivery of the Melton Mowbray Distributor Road, which is scheduled to open late next year.

He serves Old Dalby on the borough council and his son, Simon, was elected to the Long Clawson and Stathern seat last year.

Councillor Richard Shepherd was appointed the new county council vice-chairman for 2024/25.