Twelve weeks have passed since the local elections in May and the new Town Council has had to hit the ground running. Councillors have been busy working to address some of the historic challenges faced by Hadleigh Town Council, but have also found time for new initiatives too.
The Council has taken immediate action to address the challenges faced by the Hadleigh Market Feoffment Charity, which manages The Guildhall. A new committee has formed and all meetings are now open to the public. The committee is proactively fundraising to address the shortfall in income over the last four years and find a sustainable future for complex, in addition to taking short-term steps to address a number of historic operational issues.
Work on the cemetery extension, which was already underway before the election, is now complete and the Council has established a new working group to retrospectively develop a sustainable business plan for the site and ensure that all relevant details are shared publicly. Again, this working group is open to the public if anyone is interested in supporting this project.
In fact working groups are now a key feature of the Town Council, with further groups developed for Layham Road Sports Ground and the Neighbourhood Plan. Working groups are less formal than Council meetings, so enable residents to have greater involvement, although any actions or recommendations from a working group will still need to be considered by the Council. Two further committees have been established; Council Matters, which focusses on Hadleigh Town Council's own procedures and processes and Town Matters, which focusses on the wider community and provides an opportunity for local groups and organisations to be more involved, and a new Planning Advisory Committee enables Councillors and local residents to comment on planning applications.
The Council has also found time to consider a number of new issues effecting the town; Hadleigh Town Council has joined other Councils around the country in declaring a Climate Change Emergency and a new working group is exploring how the Council, and Hadleigh as a community, could do more to help the environment and reduce its carbon footprint.
Community Safety is also an active concern for the Council, which has already met with Suffolk Police to explore a number of potential initiatives and hosted a public meeting about improving safety on Benton Street, at which County Councillor Mick Fraser presented a number of options. Increasing the Town Councillors' engagement with the community is a key priority for our Mayor and Deputy Mayor, who are attending an increasing number of community events, as are other Councillors who are formally representing the Council on a wide range of community groups.
The first twelve weeks have not been without its challenges; the new Council inherited a number of complex challenges and has not had the benefit of the advice and guidance of a permanent Town Clerk, but steps are being taken to address this as soon as possible. However, the Council is making good progress and we hope to continue to create new opportunities for residents to become involved in our work and benefit the whole community. You can keep up to date with Hadleigh Town Council on our website and by following us on Facebook and Twitter.