Now that the local elections have been completed and the winners announced, may I publicly thank residents of Upperton Ward for their support over the last 20 years prior to my retirement this week.
I have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to work on their behalf and seek to improve the quality of life of all that I have served. It has been an honour and a privilege and has created many happy memories, as well as the opportunity to take on the role of both Mayor and Leader of the Council.
May I also commend those other colleagues, from both parties, who stood down on this occasion for their commitment of both time and energy.
Local Government can appear both mysterious and distant but its consequences affect us all and those who are elected have a significant responsibility to ensure that local services are delivered effectively and provide value for money. As to the future, much remains to be done to regenerate Eastbourne’s economy. The council’s systems and departments have been reorganised and should be much more cost effective. However, I agree with Annemarie Field’s view that more emphasis should be put upon the council’s vision for the town rather than the current efforts at navel gazing.
Regeneration of our town centre has been promised for far too long. Diesel Alley is still with us and the Congress Theatre has been shrouded in scaffolding for over a year. The controlling group must now take up those challenges and show that it is being proactive and leading by example rather than appearing to have a wait and see perspective.
May I end by congratulating my successors for their hard work and their commitment both before and during the recent campaign. I know that they are committed to serving the residents of the ward and I wish them every success for the future.