Holocaust Memorial Day 70 years from the Allies relief of
Our world is dangerously close to seeing similar movements arise in various places
WE CANNOT ALLOW THIS TO HAAPPEN
May 7th sees the General Election. We will all get the chance to elect our member of Parliament for the next session, presumably 5 years again. I hope that all will vote and follow their own consciences. I hope also that we will consider the person we are voting for and not just the party. I will be supporting George Freeman who has done a good job, in my opinion, over the last five years…….but……….
There is another election on May 7th 2015, and that is for your District Council. I will be standing again in Breckland, although the ward boundaries have changed, and the ward will be bigger by about 250%, and it will be a two member ward. So lots of changes.
I will be standing in the NEW Upper Wensum Ward alongside Bill Borrett. Previously our wards have been side by side, now they are together and have had no less than FOUR villages added. When you go into the polling station to vote for parliament do please bear in mind this other election, and consider well who you will be voting for to represent you locally with your planning, your bins emptying, your benefits and housing matters, your street cleaning and the myriad other services you get locally, plus of course the contacts Bill and I have within County Hall, Westminster and Brussels to plus any matters that may be of concern to us all here in Central Norfolk. Remember one vote for Parliament but two votes for Breckland.
WHAT IS GOOD ABOUT LIVING IN A VILLAGE?
This was the thrust of a question posed by the EDP a couple of weeks ago. Well as we saw in Hockering last Saturday its when people of many backgrounds meet and work together for the good of the community. Of course it works in towns and cities also but it is in a small community like this where we can see it make a real difference.
Saturday was just one of a series of fundraisers for the village church. I represent five villages, plus have a close interest in at least that many and all have groups of volunteers who commit to similar activities is support of the Church or Village hall or sports club, school, youth club etc It’s what makes us British.
Democratic and Electoral services come under my remit at Breckland. This is an odd situation for although I am the person ‘politically’ responsible I am not allowed to have any input into what is actually happening. The election in May 2015 will be the biggest election Breckland have organised for decades, probably since it came into being. The team will have three separate elections to administer.
The General Election will be the biggest in terms of vote, and will be the first to be actually counted with the count starting at end of poll and a result expected in the early hours of the morning. This is really complicated by the fact that both Constituencies in the district have an overhang into other Districts so actual votes will need to be physically moved. Mid Norfolk is partly in Breckland and Partly in South Norfolk, whilst, South West Norfolk is partly in Breckland and partly in Kings Lynn.
The District Election meanwhile, will have a verification on the night and will be actually counted after lunch on Friday as will the Parish Elections and Town Councils. All of this against the background of the recent Boundaries Review which comes into play on election day.
As an ordinary voter, you may be saying “what’s this to do with me” well perhaps nothing, but huge numbers of voters will find they are in a different ward to the last three elections, maybe you have traditionally marked the paper with one cross, but now will be able to put two (or even three for a few of us). In some cases you will have a different polling station, and for all of us we have the Individual Voter Registration to get our minds around. It’s no longer a head of household’s responsibility to get names on the list but we are each self responsible.
It means a lot of change for me personally too. I have lived in Two Rivers Ward for the twelve years I have been a councillor, but have represented Eynsford Ward, thus neither I or my family have been able to vote for me! At the May election a bit of Two Rivers moves into Upper Wensum Ward alongside all of Eynsford Ward plus all of the old Upper Wensum Ward and a bit of Swanton Morley Ward and a bit of Taverner Ward. I will for the first time live where I stand. Set against this is the fact I have represented five villages for twelve years and will now (if elected of course) have fifteen. All of this at the behest of the Local Authority Boundaries Commission. All in all a great deal of change.
A week in the life of a District Councillor.
Sunday 11th was a day to relax, spent morning in Mattishall Church for last service of a support minister then home to cook dinner
Monday 12th most of morning taken up with Brecklands Strategy Board followed by a series of short meetings and briefings in Elizabeth House extended to about 4.00pm
Tuesday 13th Cabinet meeting from 9.30, followed by a briefing on Member Development as it could be after the elections and evening at North Tuddenham PC – this will be in my new ward IF I win in May
Wednesday 14th Reading papers and then Lyng PC. lots of planning issues so a series of emails to be sent before bed
Thursday 15th Meeting with senior officer regarding corporate Health and Safety for Breckland followed by a day with the public health team. Its an eye opener to see the breadth of coverage this small(ish) department has to cover, so in the office to about 2.30 – no lunch break – then out on an inspection visit to a large pub serving food on a large scale, almost two hours followed by a dash to Swaffham for the Town and Parish Forum at the Eco-tech centre. Caught up on planning matters with the team there as had not had time to do emails, discussed matters with Police from Thetford rounding out some issues from the STAG meeting last week and met a parish clerk from another of the new wards villages. plus some networking with public, Breckland officers and members. 12 1/2 hours after leaving home sit in Mother Hubbard’s on Swaffham Market Place eating my first meal of the day fish and chips delicious
Friday 16th Meeting with public, members and MP’s and Candidates at West Norfolk Kennels two hours of networking then straight off to Anglia Farmers for a round table discussion on many matters but mainly on Food and Farming. We did touch on Broadband and Telephone connectivity (or lack of it) in Norfolk and Planning in Breckland. I was able to scotch a couple of misconceptions on this in the meeting and again afterwards
Saturday 17th An election is looming, and I have to get into political mode again. I confess that for most of the four years I am not very political, but an election has to be won. So meeting with others from across the area to plan tactics, apart from District Councillors we had at least three serving MP’s and one PPC in the room. Three hours well spent
Thats about 38 hours actually being a District Councillor, plus about 16 hours doing emails and reading papers, plus about 8 hours working towards election on party and personal matters. This was a very busy week.
Spent much of yesterday with Owen Patterson as he visited Norfolk. Always admired his straight talking approach to politics and that has not changed on the back benches. Pity he is missing from the front bench debate now
Off for a political briefing this morning for the up-coming elections. Make sure I obey the rules!
PRESS RELEASE AS PROMISED
New contract will provide more for less
At Tuesdays Cabinet meeting, Breckland Council Executive Members approved a new contract for Dog Warden services that will increase the range of facilities to residents and save Council Tax Payers money.
In addition to the services currently offered by the Council, the successful bidder, Animal Warden Services, will provide a new Animal Acceptance Point where stray dogs can be dropped off by appointment 24 hours a day. This will come into operation shortly. Thanks to efficiencies arising from the company also providing services to a neighbouring council, there will be a saving to the Council Tax payers of £25,000 per annum.
Cllr Gordon Bambridge, Breckland Council Executive Member for Democratic Services and Public Protection said: “Although cost is always an important factor, the quality of service to residents is our primary concern and this is reflected in the tendering process and the way in which bids are assessed. Animal Warden Services has provided the Council with an excellent service for the past four years so I am very pleased that their tender was successful and we will be working with the company again, I have heard nothing but good about this service and this was underlined by two unsolicited comments made within yesterdays meeting”.
The Council’s enhanced service, which begins in April 2015 will provide a stray dog collection and re-homing service, a dedicated dog fouling reporting line, a website offering information and advice, educational work with schools concerning the care and safety of dogs, a dedicated animal warden reception centre and discounted veterinary treatment for council stray dogs.
The contract will operate for three years, with an option to extend for further two years.
It was a pleasure to propose to Breckland that the new Dog Warden contract be awarded yesterday. Sometimes all things come together in a situation and this was one of them. New contract with people we know and savings as well, plus a better service model, see press release to follow
Attended North Tuddenham Parish Council last night. Apart from the council and a few members of the public Brian Rose and Bill Borrett also attended. It was my first time here and look forward to getting my feet under the table if re-elected next May.
Most non village issues are similar to Lyng, Elsing, Hockering and so on so I already have a good grip on what is needed. The visits to the NDR planning appeal last summer helped a great deal. Mostly of course its a county matter so over to Bill, but we will be jointly standing in the ward.
Tonight its Lyng PC, Thursday its the Town and Parish Forum in Swaffham – see you there maybe?
Attended a meeting of the Safer Thetford Action Group this week in my role as cabinet member for Public Protection. It is good to get to the corners of the district I have had little to do with in the past.
The issues which affect members of the community are much the same wherever we live, although the Urban Thetford is a bit different in its application to Rural Eynsford. Fly Tipping, ASBO’s, Traffic, Drugs, Anti-social Drinking are elements of aggravation to the bulk of community for us all.
Thetford has recently been awarded £20,000 to employ a fly tip officer, and this was announced in the meeting. They have a particular problem in the town and no doubt over the next few months we will see a great improvement.
I was able to introduce myself and the role I have in Breckland and to answer a few questions raised in the meeting. I believe and hope it was as helpful to them as it was informative and enjoyable to me
Thank you Thetford…