A NEW look council is set to stage its very first meeting since the local elections.

Braintree councillors will gather at Causeway House on Tuesday to confirm the makeup of the cabinet and relevant committees for the next four years.

Conservative chief Graham Butland will be reappointed leader after the Tories claimed 34 of the 49 seats on offer to retain its control.

Fellow Notley councillor Tom Cunningham appears set to be appointed Mr Butland's deputy, with Wendy Schmitt stepping down from the role to concentrate on her cabinet position, Environment and Place portfolio holder.

While much of the cabinet will remain as it did before, the biggest change will see the removal of all deputy positions.

Further changes will see the Planning and Housing portfolio split into two roles, with Gabrielle Spray stepping up from deputy to become Planning boss and replacing Lynette Bowers-Flint, who lost her Coggeshall seat to the Independents.

Meanwhile, the new Homes portfolio, which will focus on tackling homelessness, development and the delivery of affordable housing, will be taken up by Kevin Bowers.

A new Communities Culture & Tourism position has also been created, with Francesco Ricci taking up the role and tasked with taking on some of the roles previously undertaken by Health & Wellbeing portfolio holder, Peter Tattersley.

Mr Tattersley will continue to lead Health and Wellbeing.

Plans to increase the number of scrutiny committees from two to four will also be unveiled during the meeting.

Councillors from the other three main parties (Labour, the Green and Independent group and Halstead Residents Association) will be invited to chair the main scrutiny panel, the Performance Management Board.

Opposition parties will also be offered the chance to appoint at least one councillor onto the eight committees, such as a planning and licensing.

However, Labour is only expected to appoint its two councillors, David Mann and Tony Everard, to three of the eight committees.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Mr Butland said the alterations being made by the Conservatives would help ensure councillors from all parties can have their say.

He said: "The changes have been made because we want to keep being as inclusive as possible. We are giving other councillors the tools to take part in discussions to enable non-executive members to get involved with the work of the council.

"I will also continue to invite the leaders of the opposition parties to sit at cabinet meetings as I have done in the previous years.

"Some critics will say we are too cosy as a council so this will certainly address that perception. But I would say that all councillors act in the best interest of their wards and the district."

Mr Butland, who has held the position of council leader since May 2004, added: "I'm absolutely delighted to be re-elected by my group - it is a real honour and I want to make sure we deliver on what we are in favour of and what we campaigned for in our manifesto."