St Neots Town Council - A summary of the last 12 months.
The number of members of this Town Council increased from 18 to 21 Councillors at last year’s elections. Only three of those Councillors were on the previous Town Council and three of the remaining 18 were already District or County Councillors, we had 15new and inexperienced Councillors.
I’m pleased this evening to be in a position to thank all of you for rising to the challenge and getting stuck in and delivering for the people of our Town. And equally I’d like to thank our highly motivated and hardworking dedicated staff.
I would like to thank Cllr Hansard for his tremendous work as Deputy Mayor and my wife, Lindsay for all her support during a very busy year.
Here are just some of the achievements of the past year:
The piecemeal and incomprehensible Council Constitution has been replaced by the National Association of Local Councils Standard Constitution.
A highly effective committee structure has been put in place and is delivering efficient decision making.
In the past year St Neots has led the InterTown Forum discussions on CCCTV funding.
In this building, rooms and corridors have been redecorated, the guest hall lavatories refitted, the kitchens refitted, new signage installed and our fantastic new sundeck installed by the river for residents to enjoy. Even riverboat leisure trips have begun operating.
On the market square we’ve taken action to resolve the stand-off between English Heritage, Conservation officers and the owner of the Old Falcon. That building is likely to now be renovated with cafes, bars and an attractive riverside area.
On South Street, we’ve negotiated the transfer of the public toilets and these will be refurbished and re-opened in the next few weeks.
Previously poorly maintained cemetery paths are being replaced and upgraded.
On New Street, work is underway to incorporate the long neglected old court room into our town museum. And we are backing the Museums bid to secure a new exhibit – the 2,000 year old Kimbolton hoard.
On Huntingdon Street 2013 will see the opening of a state-of-the art six screen 860 seat Cineworld digital cinema with live performance facilities, restaurant village and public piazza, car park and play area with new play equipment.
Also on Huntingdon Street we are keeping our promise to protect Priory Park and to replace the old outdoor pool with a brand new indoor pool as part of an improved leisure offering.
For Loves Farm we have created a reserve fund to assist with building the much needed community centre.
In Eynesbury, we have negotiated the transfer to the Town of an acre of land adjacent to the Sidney Banks Memorial field. And we have made agreements for the better use of the Sidney Banks field.
We’ve also protected and preserved reserves made for future facilities for Eynesbury residents.
At Willow Bridge we’ve worked with the District Council to put in place regular rubbish collection and bins and benches are on their way along with tourist signage opposite castle mound.
And Councillors got to grips with the Towns finances and working closely with Council Officers, delivered extra funding for St Neots community groups,not one but two rounds of grant funding and creation of a new scheme working with community associations to fund small groups in our community. Our partners in this being Loves Farm Community Association, Eynesbury Village Association, Friends of Priory Park and The Eatons Community Association.
The problems of the Eatons Community Centre are also being addressed. A new pro-active marketing approach is building up usage and reducing the cost to taxpayers. This is paying dividends and long term agreements for lettings are now in place (and something called ZUMBA). The neglected gardens have been cultivated and landscaped, a barbeque patio has been built and next month cadets, veterans and serving members of the services have been invited to join together there for the towns first celebration of Armed Forces Day.
As part of our ongoing campaign to create greater economic vibrancy in St Neots we have worked with Black Cat Radio in establishing St Neots own Radio station. Focussing on St Neots and broadcasting from St Neots, Black Cat can be heard on DAB covering an area extending as far as twenty miles north of Peterborough advertising business in St Neots and promoting local events. Black Cat can also be heard over the internet and on smart phones and will be on 87.7 FM from 28th May.
The Town Council is now working with St Neots Town Centre Initiative and Huntingdonshire District Council to improve the Town economy. The St Neots Town Team are biddingto become a Portas Town. If successful we will receive funding and expertise to assist with improving our town centre. The St Neots Portas Bid video on Youtube has become one of the top watched videos, an indication of the unique opportunities for businesses in our town. Even if we do not win the bid we will continue to work on improvements to our town.
With only a few weeks to prepare the Council staged bands at Sunfest 2011. This year’s Civic Service was highly attended including Civic representatives from Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire.
Many Councillors joined the British Legion Remembrance Day Parade which also saw a record turn-out.
The 2011 Xmas lights switch on-saw a record 4,000 people flock to the town centre.
The Mayors Charity Ball was a sell-out within days of being announced. And with the fantastic help of the Rotary Club and Anglia Co-op in particular, a record amount has been raised for six good causes serving the people of St Neots. And I must mention Councillor Davison who has nerves of steel and did an extreme bungee jump to help.
In just over a weeks time it is the Royal Jubilee and I’m pleased to confirm that St Neots will be hosting one of the largest celebrations in the country thanks to months of preparation and hard work by staff and members.
Those are just some of the achievements of this council during the past year. All this has been achieved by a new Council which hit the ground running, highly motivated staff and most importantly through sound financial management and without even one penny increase on the Town precept
This is a Council which has a clear vision and delivers its promises.
Thank you all
St Neots Town Council
Member since: 10th July 2012
Lived in St Neots since 1975 and boy how its changed, always looking to promote everything great in and around our town.