It’s been a while since I last sat down to write a Wetherby News column and there is so much to talk about that I’m not really sure where to start.
My time as Mayor has absolutely flown by. I’ll be presiding over the monthly town council meeting tomorrow night (or two days ago by the time you read this) after that, I will only have two more meetings to go before I hang up my chains for good.
The days are racing by now and it feels like there is still a great deal to do.
About this time last year on these hallowed pages, I set myself five goals for the year ahead.
It seems appropriate to reflect on how I’ve done. Personally, I’m pretty pleased with my progress and although not quite everything is achieved, I am very confident that all will be done before I leave office.
The first challenge was to get our neighbourhood plan firmly up and running.
We now have a firmly established steering group established who are working really well together towards our current target of having a plan ready to go to a local referendum in May 2015.
I hope you have all had the opportunity to complete the survey that was circulated recently; we have certainly had a fantastic response with over 1,000 people responding.
The results are currently being inputted and I will endeavour to feed the results back to the community as soon as possible.
My second objective was to establish a youth council for Wetherby which we did last year.
We have a really enthusiastic group of young people who are full of great ideas and while us adults didn’t quite the mechanics of the group right, which are still a work in progress, the young people will go from strength to strength this year, I have no doubt about that.
Thirdly, my focus was on delivering a long term parking solution for the town.
I pointed out last year that people had being trying to fix this since the early 1970s and while we are not quite there yet, I expect to be able to announce in the next few weeks exactly what is proposed and when the work will be carried out.
My fourth objective was to try to do something about littering and dog fouling in and around the town.
This will always be an ongoing battle but I really feel that we have made fantastic progress.
The wonderful volunteers at our Welcome to Wetherby group have really led the way in our campaign to keep Wetherby Clean and Tidy and I’m thrilled that along with the city council, the town council, the police, the schools and many other organisations nearly every business in the town has signed up and pledged to do their bit and support our efforts.
There will always be more to do but I’m incredibly proud that many people really do seem to be making an effort.
My fifth objective was to get our brown sign back on the motorway, a campaign I have been running for six years which has taken me to all sorts of places.
The brown sign campaign will go down as the most frustratingly astonishing exercise I have ever had to go through.
If I was ever inclined to get a tattoo, it would be of a brown sign directing people to Wetherby!
I will definitely write a book about the experience at some point. The good news is, the sign is coming. Honestly, you really did read that correctly.
A few weeks ago I was sent a copy of the signed works order from the Highways Agency with the written approval of the secretary of state.
The money has been raised thanks to a generous contribution from the Wetherby Business Association along with donations from the town council and myself and my two Leeds City Council colleagues.
At some point in the next couple of months it will appear alongside the motorway and I will be able to retire happy at a mission accomplished.
I also hinted at a secret sixth objective for last year.
I’m afraid I’m going to tease you for just a little bit longer with that one but as nearly all the other key objectives are close to completion all my efforts will turn to what I believe will be the single biggest and most exciting project that Wetherby has ever seen.
It is almost ridiculously ambitious and I will need the help of each and every one of you to deliver it.
That’s enough teasing for now, watch this space for all will be revealed very soon….