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As I see it: Newark and Sherwood District Council leader Paul Peacock reflects on first year of new council

This time last year I was working hard with my colleagues to create a new way of working for Newark and Sherwood District Council, writes council leader Paul Peacock.

My vision was to deliver a new style of administration, dependable, reliable and friendly. By working closely with the Independents for Newark and District and the Liberal Democrat’s it feels like we are doing just that.

Words are all very well, but what does this actually mean for our residents?

Leader of Newark and Sherwood District Council, Paul Peacock.
Leader of Newark and Sherwood District Council, Paul Peacock.

The best example I can give is our response to the recent storms and floods. We took the initiative, set up a central flood response team out of Castle House and worked hard to get help where it was needed. with new areas affected, our teams had to be adaptable and listen to what the Flood Wardens and Emergency Services were telling us.

Following the floods, we hosted an inter-agency forum to bring together all the organisations who have responsibilities to support with flooding. This is a massive concern for so many of our residents that we want to apply pressure in the right places to come up with flood alleviation schemes that work for our residents.

We are committed to this. We won’t just stand by. We will keep pushing. We will do all we can to ensure the Government supports us in delivering this. Ultimately, we will need Government support to implement any flood alleviation plan.

We are also doing everything we can to bring down incidents of anti-social behaviour (ASB). We have plans to bring the Newark town centre CCTV network in-house; this means we can improve the speed of response to incidents as they happen offering a real deterrent to crime and ASB, making our streets safer. We’ve also expanded the Anti-Social Behaviour Team, involving residents in a review of the district’s Public Space Protection Orders, hosting Community Safety Events for residents to speak directly with their local Council and Police officers.

The Health and Wellbeing of all our communities is very important to us. Where we see inequalities, we will do whatever we can to address them. Whether that is through our review of ‘Active Travel’ infrastructure across the district or ensuring all our residents have access to good healthy food.

For example, did you know that Newark and Sherwood District Council has a Crop Drop scheme?

Under the scheme, we sort out the distribution of fruit and vegetables from local allotments and growers. Volunteer drivers then take the donated produce to charity projects, food clubs and educational settings. If you grow fruit or veg and want to join the scheme, get in touch with Customer Services.

On the subject of Customer Services, we have in place a new strategy which puts our residents at the heart of what we do. This includes how you get in touch. We want our online services to be easy to use, but equally be there for those who either can’t or don’t go online.

Only 1 year in, but it feels like we are making real headway, not just with flagship events, like the Tour of Britain starting in Edwinstowe, literally crossing the district before finishing in Newark, but with smaller events too, the Blue Whale arriving in the centre of Newark made a huge impact and demonstrated why we should care in our district about plastics in the ocean, we are already planning for the whale to travel across the District.

Finally, I’d like to pass on my heartfelt congratulations to Claire Ward our new East Midlands Mayor.

She has made her home in Boughton, and I for one am looking forward to working with her in the future.

In the meantime, the news that we have been awarded a £1.4m grant by the National Lottery Heritage Fund to revamp Newark Castle Gatehouse is a clear indication that we care about our heritage and sense of place, we are determined to raise our sense of civic pride right across our fantastic district.

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