Tuesday, 28 December 2010

At the Kirkburton Parish Pump

I don't say much if anything about Kirkburton Parish Council on my blog and really I should because it's a real positive story. We have 12 Greens out of 25 Parish Councillors which though not quite a majority due to the non attendance of Conservatives we do tend to hold sway. I first got elected to the Farnley and Thurstonland Ward of Kirkburton Parish in 2007 along with Robert Barraclough. It is a complete contrast to Kirklees Council. Kirklees has budgets running into the hundreds of millions with responsibility for social care, housing, environmental services, highways etc etc. Kirkburton Parish Council has a budget of just over £100k with ownership of a Village Hall, responsibility for allotments, a graveyard and a grant pot for numerous groups within the Parish. So does this mean that at a small scale politics doesn't feature? Well it didn't start out that way. There were certain individuals in the Tory group who went out of their way to give the Greens a hard time and were unnecessarily unpleasant and for at least the first year and it was hard going but we seemed to work our way through that particular pain barrier to get on with the job. To be fair some of the Conservatives were quite reasonable and eventually seemed to become sick of the antics of their colleagues and worked cooperatively with Councillors of all parties.
Past Chairman Robert Barraclough and current Chairman John Hirst

So what's been acheived? A Parish Walks project drawing in external funding, a training course giving teenagers a City and Guilds in Energy Advice, the repair of Kirkheaton Cemetery Wall (a long standing bugbear), solar panels on Burton Village Hall, winning the 2008 British Renewable Energy Awards with the judges comment, "this small Parish Council appears to be doing more than our national government". These are just some highlights there's plenty more but as with all things it comes down to a good team of people, Michelle Atkinson, Chairing the Environment Committee and introducing the popular Environment Fayre and Sunflower Competition, Geoff Hickey and Robert Barraclough ably chairing the Parish Council during some difficult times. The current Conservative Chairman elected with all Party support plays with a straight bat and across party divides. A special mention for Lin Holroyd, Independent who chaired the Parish in the 2007/8 year which was not an easy year at all which she handled with a determination to ensure no one got to far out of hand. I guess even myself on occasions!

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