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Leader's blog - May 15

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Leader's blog Jonathan Morgan

I can’t start my latest blog without a mention for my predecessor as leader of Charnwood Borough Council, and my friend, Cllr David Slater.

David’s sudden passing has been a shock to everyone involved with the council and in the community as well.

He led the council for seven years and I was his deputy for more than two years before he decided to step down in November.

David was an incredibly decent man who served the Council and the residents of Charnwood with absolute dedication. He was well-liked and respected by his colleagues, irrespective of party, and he will be missed by us all.

A memorial service to celebrate his life takes place on Monday, June 4 at 1pm at St Bartholomew’s Church in Quorn. All who knew David are welcome to attend.

The Council has recently received a positive report on its performance, and its potential, following a visit by several senior officers and councillors from other authorities. This Peer Challenge, co-ordinated by the Local Government Association, found the Council is serving residents well and has much to be proud of. Don’t take just my word for it, please read the report.

It also says we have the right building blocks in place to achieve more in the future.

It was an interesting exercise and one I think will help build a stronger organisation. One of the many interesting points was about the Council’s potential to play a more prominent role on a regional level.

It’s worth remembering that Charnwood is one of the largest borough councils in the country. In fact, the population in Charnwood is larger than some unitary authorities which provide all services to their residents.

As local government continues to change and adapt we will be taking the advice of the LGA, which ties in with our own ambitions, and seeing how Charnwood can help lead not just the borough, but the region forward.

As a final nod to the LGA report it does also mention a need to keep a local focus and perhaps it is fitting that in June we will have the first meeting of the Loughborough Area Committee.

This is a committee made up of all Loughborough borough councillors. It will meet to discuss issues specific to Loughborough, giving the town the focus it deserves so we can best help residents and businesses.

This provides an effective forum for the town’s councillors, without the expense to taxpayers of setting up an additional tier of local government, which would be less effective than the current set up and create more bureaucracy.

The Loughborough Area Committee has the chance to play a role in shaping the town’s future and I wish it well.

Finally, we’re very close to launching our Charnwood Heritage Plaques Scheme to celebrate people, places and events in the borough.

We will be installing plaques in different locations around the borough to mark an interesting piece of our local heritage. We’ve formed a committee involving councillors, officers and community representatives and in the longer term will ask for nominations.

We’re proud of our heritage in Charnwood and we hope the plaques will help bring it to life for future generations.

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