First week as a councillor

It has been a busy week. I started with a visit to West Suffolk House to collect my IT and fill out lots of paperwork. I’m now an official councillor! I met with a number of very helpful officers. The training on Teams was very useful.

Within my ward I met with two parish clerks and one chair to discuss their issues in the parish and took away some actions to follow up. I also met with a resident to discuss his planning application. He raised an interesting apparent conflict of policy, conservation verses climate emergency. One to follow up.

Great to meet the chief exec Ian Gallin albeit on Teams. I followed up the call by raising a number of questions with him.

We had a Conservative group meeting where I had a chance to meet the rest of the team. We also had a chance to chat with Matt Hancock.

I have submitted my first “call in” to a planning application. This means it will not just go through with delegated authority to an officer. Democratic oversight to significant planning decisions is important.

Meetings are an issue because of covid. Meetings where decisions are taken have to be in public and in a real location. A Teams meeting will not do. However, the social distancing rules mean that the debating chamber is not big enough for a full council meeting. To get around this we had a Teams meeting last night and councillors voted. There is a “real” but limited numbers meeting today to make the formal decisions already agreed yesterday. Clunky but it works and keeps us legal. I asked to attend both meetings and it was agreed that I could.

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