Busy time for Mayor

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It’s probably been the busiest two weeks during my time as Mayor.

You may or may not have noticed the lack of a column last week, for the first time, I missed the deadline as I ran out of time.

I’m up against it this week as well, I’m sitting writing at 1am having not long finished a hot day in the kitchen.

To bring you right up to date, when I last completed a column two weeks ago, I’d just finished chairing a public meeting for residents of Thorp Arch, Walton and Boston Spa to discuss a proposal for a development of around 2000 houses on Thorp Arch Trading Estate.

The owners of the site have been in discussions with planners, ward members and parish councils for quite some time although I excluded myself from them as my business is so close to the site.

Quite understandably, many people in the surrounding villages are very concerned about the proposals and the impact they could have on their communities and a local action group has been established to fight the proposals.

You will hopefully have received a letter from me and my colleagues informing you about the City Council’s site allocation process for new houses for the next 15 to 20 years.

The consultation is open at the moment about which sites should be allocated for housing and I would strongly urge you to take part.

If you need any help or have questions you’d like answered before you submit a response, please feel free to get in touch.

In the same week, I attended a sport fair at Boston Spa school and while the event went well and seemed to be a great success, I was forgotten about!

I arrived on time as requested and was asked to wait in a particular part of school until I was required and somehow, they forgot I was there!

I got a bit fed up of waiting after 30 minutes and so had a wander around and chatted to some of the young people who were really enjoying the opportunity to get a taste of some new sports.

I also attended a meeting of The Children’s Trust board and The Children’s Services Scrutiny board.

Two Sundays ago, I was privileged to open the first Country Fair hosted by Wetherby Sports Association.

It was a bit of a mad dash as I also had to work so I started early to make my Yorkshire Puddings and get my meat in the oven before heading over to start the proceedings.

It was frustrating not to be able to stay longer as it looked set to be a fantastic event and by all accounts it was. I can’t wait until next year.

Most of the time, I manage to juggle my public duties and my other responsibilities reasonably well but every now and then, I have to choose one or the other.

I’m very pleased that the profile of the Mayoral office has been growing steadily over the last few years, this does mean that more and more people are making requests for my attendance at events.

It’s always very frustrating on the rare occasions when I have to decline but thankfully, the Deputy Mayor, Coun Harry Chapman is great and fills in for me.

Last Monday was the latest full council meeting in Leeds, a delegation from Boston Spa attended to make a plea to the council not to close Primrose Hill Care Home.

They spoke incredibly powerfully and I will continue to do everything I can to support them.

I spoke out against the proposals to remove funding for school transport, particularly for those wanting their children to attend faith schools.

On Tuesday, I attended the latest meeting of our Youth Town Council which is one of my favourite meetings each month.

They’re a great group and making really good progress in their objectives.

They will be launching a new initiative in the autumn which looks really impressive and I think others across the city will be watching with interest and rushing to copy what they’re doing. Watch this space.

On Wednesday, I chaired the latest meeting of the neighbourhood plan steering group in the Town Hall.

Our next meeting will take place at 6pm on Wednesday August 7.

Anyone interested in being involved in helping to produce the plan, can come along to this meeting when we’ll be able to update on what’s happened so far and then we’ll be splitting into working groups to start getting into really specific details.

We do need people to let us know in advance that they’re coming so we have an idea of numbers. Anyone interested can contact the Town Hall on 01937583584 for more details.

On Saturday, I held my regular street surgeries in Wetherby with Coun Gerald Wilkinson and then I headed over to Boston Spa to officially open the Boston Spa Junior Games.

I worked on Sunday while trying to watch the tennis at the same time.

Congratulations Andy, you made us all proud.

It’s our monthly Town Council meeting tomorrow night so my next job is to prepare for that. Hopefully, that brings you bang up to date!