Monday, September 20, 2021

Parish Council doesn't meet, which gives me some time to reflect...

There is one obvious peril when you only have five councillors, which that it doesn't take much to jeopardise quoracy and thus the ability to hold meetings. Holidays, ill health and, occasionally, sheer misfortune, can interfere with the smooth running of local government and, tonight, that combination gained me an unexpected evening off.

Luckily, we're in a quiet part of the cycle at the moment. Gateway 14 has been approved but there is no sign of activity yet in terms of the infrastructure needed before actual buildings can go up. There are no outstanding controversies, and although there are things that could be done, none of them are exactly urgent.

I admit to a vague sense of relief in that sense, in that I find myself slightly distracted in the generality - there's a lot going on, and I've grown unused to that during the pandemic. Maintaining focus across a range of disparate roles does not entirely come naturally, especially when they don't really interconnect.

But life is slowly beginning to return to normal here in the Creetings. Church services have resumed, the first coffee morning for eighteen months has taken place - I was on duty supporting the Parochial Church Council and thus missed it - and there are even going to be pub nights in the foreseeable future.

I'm also attempting to manage the transition from Chair to, well, ordinary Councillor really, by leaving a bit more space for my fellow councillors to fill. I don't have to offer an opinion if there is an emerging stance, my colleagues can take on responsibilities that I might have picked up, and I'm trying to feel less obligated.

It's not that I'm any less committed to the wellbeing of my community, it's just that I really believe that organisations ossify if the leader doesn't change from time to time. I like to think that I'm fairly adaptable, and not prone to dominating the debate but there's a real danger that you settle into a comfortable regime, especially if unchallenged. A new approach, a new style, can be a good thing.

And I still have ambitions, both personal and collective. The pandemic has rather distracted me from some of my thinking on how a small Parish Council might operate, and I still have my roles with the Suffolk Association of Local Councils and as their representative on the National Assembly of the National Association of Local Councils.

So, as I enter my last six months as Chair - and I really mean it - it's time to lift my eyes to the horizon and ponder the future...

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