With 2012 upon us, it is time to reflect on my first eight months as a Central Bedfordshire Councillor and my fifteenth year as an Ampthill Town Councillor.
With regards Central Beds Council, the part of the council I find most rewarding, other than serving and helping the residents of Ampthill, Maulden and Clophill, is being a member of the Social Care, Health and Housing Overview and Scrutiny Committee. My background in the voluntary sector stands me in good steed, as most groups are involved in these sectors. Also my battle against Leukaemia gives me an additional insight into the workings of the NHS. At every meeting I attend I go armed with a series of probing questions that require answers.
Strangely, the aspect of Central Beds Council I find least rewarding are the Full Council meetings, as they basically serve as a rubber stamping exercise for the decisions made by the executive. This does not stop me asking probing questions. However, I despaired recently at how the Conservative majority voted en-mass to yet again ignore the recommendations of the Independent Remunerations Panel on cuts in councillor expenses. What's the point of having an independent panel if you constantly ignore their recommendations. The Conservatives have form on this issue!
In respect of Ampthill Town Council, it is good to report that the redevelopment of Parkside Hall is moving on at quite a pace, so much so that I believe that this will become a reality sooner rather than later. I'm also hopeful that 2012 will see us secure much needed funding for Ampthill Park from the Big Lottery's Parks for People Fund.
It has also been a pleasure to work with Ampthill Chamber of Trade and Commerce in recent months to develop the 'shop Ampthill' website at www.ampthill.biz. Plus I look forward to the construction of nearby Center Parcs, as over 1000 jobs will have been created by the opening in the summer of 2013 and that can only be good for local residents and the local economy.
Anyway in the coming weeks,months and years I will continue to serve and help the residents of Ampthill, Maulden and Clophill to the best of my ability. Please remember to visit www.marksmith.org.uk regularly to keep up to date. In particular engage in the latest consultations and keep me informed of your views so I can best represent you.
Welcome to my new councillor blog on my new website.
I set up the website prior to the Central Bedfordshire Council election on 5th May 2011, in the hope that it would help me get elected. Well I was fortunate to get elected. Whether the website assisted I can't be sure, but it was always my intention that should I get elected I would develop the website into an engaging communication tool with the residents of Ampthill, Maulden and Clophill.
The site employs the following features:
- Youtube Videos
- A Forum
- This Blog
As an Ampthill Town Councillor since 1997, I'm aware of the issues affecting the community and now I'm a Central Beds Councillor, I'm also regularly attending the parish council meetings of Maulden and Clophill. So the website reflects the issues of the three communities and details the dates of upcoming town and parish meeting. Importantly, I aim to highlight the latest developments and consultations. The site will also carry details of the dates and venues for upcoming ward surgeries, that will enable you to speak to me face-to-face about your issues.
Lastly, the site aims to give you tools to empower you and assist you with some of the tools I've developed, such as the Ampthill.Info website, the Ampthill Welcome Pack and Ampthill Essentials Information Sheet.
Keep visiting this blog, following my tweets and podcasts to get my take on local matters.
P.S. I'm still amazed that I managed to secure the domain name www.marksmith.org.uk. I'm sure I was just lucky in that someone had only just released the domain!!