Councillor Ben Smith was elected as Mayor of Brightlingsea at the recent Annual Council Meeting.

Ben, pictured left with retiring mayor Ian Block, is currently a trustee of the Brightlingsea Community Association and a trustee of the Springmead Trust. He is a member of Colne Yacht Club, the University Community Sailing Club, the Smack Preservation Society and a Freeman of Brightlingsea.

Although Ben has only been living in Brightlingsea for a few years he has worked in Essex for over 25 years. Son of a Master Mariner he adores living by the sea. Ben brings a wealth of local government experience to Brightlingsea and was a Northamptonshire County Councillor for twenty six years and held senior posts within the council for nearly all of the time. In 2002 he was the only councillor on the official UK delegation to the United Nations World Summit on Sustainable Development in South Africa. The delegation included the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and other government ministers. From 2005-9 he was Deputy Leader of Northamptonshire County Council and held the Environment portfolio on the cabinet.

Ben is a Chartered Landscape Architect and holds an MSc in Environmental Resources. In 1972 he was appointed as the Chief Landscape Architect for Northampton Development Corporation.

From 1985 to 2009 he ran his own landscape architectural consultancy practice. The practice advised private companies and local and central government agencies on the landscape aspects of existing and proposed developments and implemented landscape design and management schemes throughout the UK. The practice carried out a wide variety of commissions ranging from projects at RAF Lakenheath to the landscaping of the headquarters of the Nationwide Building Society in Northampton.

Ben is currently a Director of the River Nene Regional Park Company. This is an independent Community Interest Company creating a green infrastructure network of environmental projects over several hundred square miles. He was previously a member of two Environment Agency Flood & Coastal Defence Committees. Ben was a member of the Northamptonshire Police Authority for seven years and the Deputy Chair for three years.

In 2005 he was appointed by DEFRA to the Board of the West Northamptonshire Development  Corporation. Ben has worked for the Improvement and Development Agency (now absorbed into the Local Government Association). He worked at a number of Councils in England and Wales carrying out reviews and mentoring to Environment Cabinet members. In 2005, as part of the Waste Management Peer Review for Essex, he interviewed Lord Hanningfield on future waste proposals for the county.