In looking back over the year that has passed, it is with a sense of both challenge and confidence in what has been and what is to come in the year ahead.
Brexit has continued to dominate, and the frustration has been the all-consuming debate over what is happening, rather than leaving ministers to deliver ‘the will of the people’, which would normally be the role of central government.
I truly believe the end result is what really matters, rather than what is presented to us, each and every week through various sources.
I’m not sure it serves any purpose in agitating people with a constant feed of speculation on what may or may not be happening.
Here in North Kesteven, we take satisfaction in the principle that if we consult with everyone in the correct manner and in the reasonable time, we can achieve great things together.
We ask the questions we hope resonate with residents, and this is borne out in the responses we are receiving to our consultation on shaping our strategic vision – the NK Plan.
We are way ahead of the game in building homes for local need, but aware of the need, with a substantial housing waiting list, to lobby government even harder to give us the tools to build the required houses.
We know that our residents want to see more vibrant town centres, which we are working with partners to deliver and we are reassured by a snapshot of the replies returned so far that we are correct in refocusing on the environment, making this an additional priority going forwards.
This year was a step change for me personally, in taking over the leadership of NKDC.
Having the benefit from working on the Executive over the last six years, my thinking has been shaped in looking to fulfil what people see and want in leadership.
Championing local activities is extremely important and we have so many things to celebrate in NK, not least the community champions we honour annually. Numerous people from all walks of life, who give up so much to help other people – a true inspiration to all of us.
We also have to acknowledge the strategies, plans and policies we have put in place this year to support people in their daily lives.
These respond, among many other things, to homelessness, the health and wellbeing of all our residents, hoarding and mental health, conservation reviews of settlements, all of which represent the varied ways we interact and effect the daily lives of NK residents.
In addition, it would be wrong not to acknowledge the national challenge which has struck the nation this year in the form of terrorism.
While this is an abhorrent crime, I’m sure I join all our residents in standing firm against such acts, whilst supporting the many families, unfortunately affected by this, in recent times.
On a positive note, I am confident that NKDC is best placed to tackle the challenges ahead of us, thanks to an excellent partnership between a committed political team and an experienced, more than qualified officer team.
New Year’s resolutions
Personal: Never look back, only forwards. The future is there for us to shape and I want to work with anybody and everybody to shape a better future.
Professional: To pursue central government to deliver policies that help local government to deliver results for the betterment of all out residents. Alongside, ever increasingly-influential senior NKDC officers, I will work to deliver any and every improvement in services and provision for North Kesteven residents.