New Year honour for former council chief executive in Northamptonshire who left 'lasting legacy'

Former chief executive of South Northamptonshire and Cherwell District councils, Sue Smith
Former chief executive of South Northamptonshire and Cherwell District councils, Sue Smith

The former chief executive of South Northamptonshire and Cherwell District councils was awarded an MBE in Queen's New Year Honours.

Sue Smith's career in local government began as a recreation assistant at Anglesey Borough Council in 1979.

She then moved up the ranks across four other councils before leaving her post as chief executive of Harborough District Council in 2011 to become the first joint chief executive of Cherwell District and South Northamptonshire councils.

Yvonne Rees, the current chief executive for both councils, said: “Over the last few months as chief executive at South Northamptonshire and Cherwell District councils I have heard so much about the passion and dedication Sue Smith had for the communities she served.

“Her vision and determination have resulted in significant change which has had a true, tangible impact on the residents of both districts and left a lasting legacy for us to build upon.

“I’d like to extend my whole-hearted congratulations on this well-deserved honour.”

As the first joint chief executive for both councils Mrs Smith oversaw the biggest transformation of local government in Cherwell and South Northamptonshire since the 1970s.

Soon after she was appointed she was central to the expansion of the shared services model which cut out duplication between the two councils and has saved millions of pounds each year.

In South Northamptonshire she oversaw the planning of housing expansion in Brackley and Towcester to help meet the national housing shortage, the development of the Silverstone Masterplan, the regeneration of Moat Lane in Towcester and the construction of a new community building with a new library and council offices.

In Cherwell, Mrs Smith presided over the growth of Bicester as an Eco Town and saw it awarded Healthy New Town Status in 2016. She was also instrumental in the evolution of the Graven Hill development in Bicester, the UK’s largest self and custom build development, of which she continues to be chairman.