As Leader of the Town Council I’d like to wish everyone a very Happy New Year.
The festive season is a time for reflection and a time to think of others. It has been a pleasure working with so many organisations and individuals throughout 2014. Without community support it would have been impossible to achieve all that has been achieved. Looking back I recall with pleasure the grants we have made to community groups, the civic awards presented in February, the hugely positive response to the floral show and bunting through the summer, the development of a series of events such as the International Festival and of course the fantastic reaction to the events and illuminations through the Advent period.
Less visible perhaps is the work we have done with partners to develop an active and vibrant Youth Employment Partnership. Of itself we hope this will raise aspirations and create opportunities for our young people.
I must also mention in this year the on-going programme of events that are taking place to mark the anniversaries of the Great War, we must never forget the horrors of the First World War.
In looking to the future, we are about to set the budget for the next financial year and I anticipate that there will be no increase in Council Tax. We feel this is important at a time when the country faces this level of austerity. 2015 will no doubt be an important year for everyone and impact on all our futures.
Whatever the outcome of the May elections I am sure that the Town Council will go from strength to strength. The new Community Plan will, we hope provide a platform to take the Town forward in partnership with all interested parties. We will also develop the Youth Council and increase our efforts to attract people into the Town Centre through more and bigger events.
This is the season of goodwill and I want to recognise the part that Cheshire East plays in the Town. As everyone knows relations have been strained. It is however vitally important that we are able to work together for the good of the Town, we stand ready to work with Cllr Jones on the development of options for the Town Centre, on understanding how best to maximise the benefit of HS2, on how we improve traffic infrastructure and on how we improve the lives of everyone in the Town.
I hope Cllr Jones shares our sentiment and it would be good to hear him compliment the Town Council on improving the illuminations in the Town, for him to support the transfer of the markets to the Town Council releasing 100k of investment held by the Town Council and to have the good sense to recognise that the people of Crewe see the Municipal Building as the home of public administration in the Town.
Happy New Year to one and all.
Cllr Kevin Hickson, Leader, Crewe Town Council.