20/05/2011 Leave a comment
There was a definitely a sense of the changing of the guard at Forest Heath Conservative Group AGM last night when James Waters were elected Leader of the Group and as is the way of these things will be elected Leader of the Council next week at the Council’s AGM.
The former Leader Geoffrey Jaggard who has served the residents of Forest Heath with great distinction over many years was given a rousing round of applause and thanked by all. He can be rightly proud of his and the Council’s achievements and track record, not least the lowest council tax of any council in Suffolk and a well run and efficient set of services.
Both James and his fellow leadership contender Robin Millar presented a clear vision of how they saw the next 4 years and either of them would make an excellent Leader but there can be only one. Nigel Roman was the only nomination for Deputy Leader and brings with him a wealth of experience and knowledge built up over many years of outstanding public service both to Forest heath District Council and the Conservative Party.
The challenge for the new leader is to lead the council through the unprecedented change that the Localism Bill will bring about and to deliver a vision of how the area we all live in is going to be shaped by the council’s deeds and actions over the next 4 years.
At my induction onto the Council last week I heard an officer say the area looked more to the Cambridge Economic Sub-region than to Ipswich, and whilst I entirely agree with this correct assessment; it struck me, so how does that shape the policies and actions of the Council?, in my opinion it currently does not to the extent it should.
If we look economically look towards Cambridge then we should have incubator business parks where we can support fledgling businesses from the world class industries around Cambridge thus creating high value jobs. If we look towards Cambridge why are we not building more housing to provide a high quality of life for those who work in Cambridge, and what about having a transport strategy that supports this as well.
These are the core challenges facing the new Leader and I wish James all the very best and promise to support him in his endeavours to the best of my abilities.