Times & Star Politics Column - 14th June 2019

Below is Councillor Mark Jenkinson's politics column in this week’s  Times & Star.

Mark is the Borough Councillor for the Seaton and Northside ward, Leader of Allerdale Conservatives, and Deputy Leader of Allerdale Borough Council.

It’s been three weeks since the Independents and the Conservatives took control of Allerdale Borough Council, and we see on these pages that everyone waits with bated breath - what will happen to planned projects? Will we get a new stadium? Where is the land of promised milk and honey?

 We know people are waiting for answers. After 8 years of continuity it’s all thrown up in the air. Change worries people, that’s human nature.

 Our council officers are adept at dealing with change - such is the fickleness of politics. They’re potentially thrown into this state of flux every four years, but the ship stays steady with them at the helm while councillors find their feet. For them, we have tried to maintain some continuity, in the way that the Executive is structured for example.

 But the people that change doesn’t worry are those that voted for it. I can promise that change is coming - any administration that we’re part of will deliver tangible change that positively affects people’s lives.

 I was one of the biggest public critics of the stadium plans, but not so foolish to think that there may not have been unpublished information that made the previous administration believe it was a good idea. It would be unwise for anybody to rush into big decisions without knowing the project inside out, such have been our previous gripes around transparency and haste. It is just as unwise to be a proponent of such a large project without having that same information.

 While there are still issues with things like bin collections, which get less every week as people work incredibly hard to address problems as they arise, it would be easy to forget the good stuff that still goes on - just last week we’ve seen planning approval for the Allonby to Silloth cyclepath, majority funded by £1m from the governments Coastal Communities Fund, connecting Maryport to Silloth for walkers and cyclists.

 Last weekend I proudly watched our new Mayor, Councillor Hilary Harrington, walk round my village in the Seaton Carnival procession. Passing our Cumbria in Bloom entries for this year - a project that was started with some seed funding from Allerdale Borough Council just three years ago, and has since grown arms and legs. A reminder of the good things we do that all too easily could go unnoticed.

 So, for a while yet, time is eaten up by meetings, briefings and reading report after report. A normal family life goes out of the window, if ever I had one. But it will all be worth it as we seek to deliver on our promises to deliver a cleaner, greener Allerdale, one that is seen to be more open and transparent. Life does not get better by chance, it gets better through.