This week was really just a prelude to formally taking office. The local elections had been held on Thursday May 2nd, but ballots were not counted until Sunday 5th. Immediately after the declaration, the Haslemere depute town clerk presented me with a large purple folder of homework – documents to read, some forms to complete and sign.
By Wednesday, I had an email from our Haslemere Town Clerk, which among other things invited me to set up my formal Haslemere Town Council email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) , which should be used for any correspondence on Council business.
On Friday morning, I went down to the town hall to complete the paperwork, and at the same time took advantage of in invitation to meet the police commander for Waverley Borough, Inspector Gary Smith, who was in town to meet residents and hear our concerns. I spoke to him about the conspicuous lack of visible policing which we all know is due to draconian cuts in budget. What I did not know, was just how far-reaching those have been for neighbourhood policing specifically – but he assured me that he is fighting hard to improve ,matters, and has now had approval to double the budget for this: from two officers, to four.
Over the weekend, I answered a ring at the door, to be greeted by a lady from the Redwood property development company, with a large, glossy brochure about their proposed redevelopment of the Redcourt site on Scotland Lane (which they are choosing to call “Scotland Park”). This will require careful study and consideration.
On Sunday morning after Mass, I met with our team of Liberal Democrat town councillors, together with Green Councillor Claire Matthis, for a discussion about our preferences for the key council posts.
My first formal council meetings will be next week, with an induction meeting on Monday, and the annual meeting to elect mayor and deputy mayor on Thursday.