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It’s been an odd couple of weeks.

Like many families across High Peak my household has just reduced in numbers – as both my daughter and son headed off to university. So where we were once four, we are now two and - apart from getting them to university - the parental taxi service has ended, at least until they return at Christmas! So it’s been something of a new start for all of us.

It’s a bit like that at the council too, with everyone getting used to their new roles, not just councillors, but staff too, following the council’s restructure which is still not quite complete. Everything is starting to settle down, but inevitably it takes a little time – but at the forefront of everyone’s minds is the need to make sure our frontline services do not suffer.

It was good to meet a number of residents at the council’s recent Open Day in Pavilion Gardens and we are looking at repeating the exercise again in the future.

We will shortly be publishing the council’s new Corporate Plan, I hope this will be seen as a living document. The council agreed the overall framework at its meeting on October 5, now the plan is to work with the council’s select committees to agree the performance framework which sits underneath the plan.

However, more importantly I want you – as individuals, community groups and business groups – to tell us what your priorities are for the borough. Given the economic downturn times are not easy for anyone and councils are no different from people or businesses.

Increasingly getting the best deal for the borough will mean working more cleverly with local groups.

That’s why we are working in partnership Derbyshire County Council on the Snow Wardens scheme to train volunteer co-ordinators and to provide equipment and grit to help with snow clearance in residential areas.

A similar scheme in my own Fairfield ward last year saw young people – the Dreamscheme crew - working together to clear footpaths and driveways to allow elderly residents to get out of their homes without fear of falling.

We have also agreed to give every councillor £1000 per year to spend in his/her ward; as well as £4000 each to the regeneration partnerships in Chapel-en-le-Frith, New Mills and Whaley Bridge. All of these grants will, of course, be carefully monitored to make sure the monies are used correctly.

I was also interviewed by Guardian online as part of a feature in how borough councils may be affected if new economic development powers are given to cities.  You can read the article here:

Last updated: 23rd April 2012

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