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Long-standing councillor resigns from Town Council

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TOWN councillor Russell Hawker has stepped down from his role after 16 years, but will remain as a councillor on Wiltshire Council until the end of his term in 2021. 

Russell Hawker said, “At Easter this year, I decided to step down from the town council for a rather wide range of reasons. I sent emails to all of the town councillors at the time saying that I intend to resign, but then I held on for a bit longer because some interesting issues suddenly cropped up that I wanted to be involved in for a short while longer.  

“Since last autumn, I have had increasing difficulty in finding all the time needed to attend the various town council meetings that occur. In recent years, the town council has taken on more and more projects and long-term commitments that now involve more and more and longer and longer meetings. 

“I have been a town councillor continuously since March 2002 – 16 and a half years – and at the same time I’ve served continuously as a district councillor between 2003 – 2009 and then since 2009 as a  Wiltshire Councillor following the creation of the huge new unitary council called Wiltshire Council. 

 “Last autumn, I felt that the town council would benefit from my long experience by me staying on at least until the new councillors, who are by far the majority of the current town council and who had arrived via the May 2017 elections or subsequent co-options, had settled in.

“At Easter this year, I realised that all of the newer councillors had settled in reasonably well by then and that, in truth, it did not really matter any more whether I stayed on for much longer or not. I knew it was time for me to move on and focus more time on other parts of my life such as what is left of my career as a general practice commercial property chartered surveyor.

“I am proud of my record of getting many things done as a town councillor over the last 16 years. This includes helping to save The Laverton from closure when the town council had the opportunity to take over as the charity trustee of the building. 

“I wrote the original approved and adopted town council Laverton business plan in 2006. It  was largely based on obtaining grants for a major refurbishment which, in the end, just about worked out as planned. Unfortunately, it took far longer than it should have due to some now retired councillors who threw seriously unhelpful spanners in the works from time to time.

“I think my main recent achievement was my personal proposal for the town council to subsidise parking in the town centre Wiltshire Council-run car parks from last year, so that free parking for two hours is available. This followed several years when Wiltshire Council had forced on the town no free parking in these car parks and when we had all seen the faster decline of the High Street and surrounding shops. Hopefully, the free car parking will now stop the decline of the town centre.

“My role in leading the project to save Leigh Park Community Centre from cancellation and then leading the team which redesigned it in negotiations with Persimmon Homes and the old district council and pushed for it to be built etc is really my proudest achievement as a local councillor, but actually that was me in my district and Wiltshire Council role rather than as a town councillor.

“I intend to continue working hard as a Wiltshire councillor until the end of my term of office in 2021 when I will stand down. Until then, I will play a full part in Wiltshire Council’s Westbury Area Board, which I chaired for the third time during the recent council year ending in May. My Wiltshire councillor role in Westbury West will of course involve working with Westbury Town Council on relevant issues from time to time.”

Cllr Ian Cunningham, Mayor of Westbury said, “I will miss cllr Hawker as a member of Westbury Town Council; he has served the council for many years and contributed significantly in many ways in that time.”

One Response to Long-standing councillor resigns from Town Council

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