Sunday, 4 July 2010
But just going round all the community events of the last few weeks – in Alexandra Park, in Broomgrove, on the West Hill or in the America Ground – residents want to tell us how they feel things could improve and we are only too happy to listen.
Should the whole of Robertson Street be pedestrianised; are begging and street drinking been tackled hard enough; has Ore Village been overlooked; couldn’t we do more with the old Waterworks Road depot site; and of course parking and many other issues too numerous to list.
It certainly takes longer walking around town when you are in control – but isn’t leadership about hearing what others have to say and trying to integrate the best ideas with the policies you were elected on.
Becoming leader in 2010 is not going to be same though as when I first took the position ten years ago. That marked the start of the major regeneration investment in the town by the government. And the council was one of the best funded nationally.
With talk of 25% or even 40% public spending cuts all that has changed. Running the council now might be less about where would we like to spend more money and rather where might we have to spend less.
This is going to affect all of us. So after the Summer holidays we are going to hold a ‘Big Conversation’ with the people of the town – tell us what your priorities would be if government grants to the council are to be seriously cut back. What are the things you would never want to see reduced? We will be using the council’s About magazine and the local media to let you know just how difficult the situation could be and for you to let us know what you think can be done.
But for now the weather is still good, there are still lots of Summer activities to enjoy and Hastings is still a great place to live.
(The photo is of me being quizzed by the Helenswood Year 9 newsroom)