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Chairman of the council

The Chairman of the Council is the council's civic head and the first citizen of the New Forest. The current chairman is Cllr Alan O'Sullivan.

Chairman Cllr Alan O'Sullivan


As my father was in the Navy I was born in the Naval Hospital in Southsea and spent most of my youth in the Portsmouth area.  After spending ten years working for a national electrical retailer, I moved to New Milton in 1980 where I joined a local family firm.  I then spent the next 36 years working on the high street, helping local people purchase one of their biggest expenditures.

I am married to Valerie and I have a son, Shaun, who is married to Rachelle, who live in Torquay together with my two granddaughters who seem to be growing up too quickly.  Valerie and I like travelling to new places, long walks and enjoy meeting people and socialising when the opportunity arises.

I first became a Councillor when I joined New Milton Town Council in 1991 and, apart from a short break, I am still a Member serving the local community. I then joined New Forest District Council in 2011 and became the Chairman of the Audit Committee following its formation in the same year.  I have always been interested in local education and spent 20 years as a school governor, of which I was Chairman for 10 years, at a local junior school.  I then became a Director of Arnewood School when they became an Academy and spent the last 4 years as their Chief Executive Officer before retiring in March 2021.

I am also a founding Member and Treasurer of the Milton Heritage Society and look forward to the Society acquiring the Station Masters House as a Heritage museum for New Milton.  I also represent the District Council on Citizens Advice and the Town Council on The Forest Arts.

The role of the Chairman

District councils are required by law to elect a chairman each year by all members of the council. The Chairman of the Council will not necessarily be a member of the majority political group on the council. As the chair of Full Council meetings, he or she is expected to be completely impartial in this role.

The Chairman is the council's civic head, and as the first citizen of the district takes precedence within the district over everyone except Her Majesty the Queen or her representative (usually the Lord Lieutenant of the County of Hampshire). At events arranged by or on land owned by Hampshire County Council, the Chairman of the County Council takes precedence.

As the council's civic head, the Chairman's duties include:

  • welcoming members of the Royal Family when they visit the district
  • receiving dignitaries and other visitors
  • hosting civic functions
  • attending numerous local events, large and small.

The Vice-Chairman can deputise for the Chairman and performs similar duties.

Find out more about the Chairman's engagements.

The Chairman's chosen charities

The Chairman will be supporting The Fortune Centre and Scarf during his year in office.

If you are interested in helping to raise funds for the Chairman's charities, contact:

Sue Jennings
Business Support Officer

Vice-Chairman of the council

The Vice-Chairman deputises for the Chairman and performs similar duties.

Chairman's engagements

Invite the Chairman of the Council to a local event or function.

Previous Chairmen of the council

Previous Chairmen dating back to the council's formation in 1974.

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