After completing another wonderful year as Mayor, I have been enjoying Chairing the Borough Council Overview and Scrutiny Commission and continuing as a Councillor for Langley Green, time runs on so quickly and we are 3/4 way through another Council year.
Despite the ruthless and swingeing cuts to Council budgets, I am proud that the Labour controlled Council have maintained and increased services to Crawley residents, and have many plans and schemes waiting to come forward to enhance the lives of Crawley residents. Both the Scrutiny Commission and Cabinet meet in the same week of the Council cycle, and on many occasions reports and recommendations are scrutinised by the Commission before they go to the Cabinet. Both meetings are in public and each have a public question time at the start of the meeting. My group are anxious to encourage public participation in Council matters, and I would urge residents to come along and see how decisions are made and how you can help to influence decisions.
Energy conservation and shared heating schemes are high on the Borough Council's agenda, together with exciting plans to renovate and extend the very successful Nature Centre in Tilgate Park. This is a premier park for the South of England, and coach trips are organised from other parts of the South for day visits to Tilgate Park, we residents of Crawley have it on our doorstep and weekends especially, many families enjoy the varied treats it has to offer. We are justly proud of our parks and open spaces, and grateful to the pioneers of Crawley New Town for their foresight in purchasing land for this use.
We welcome new commercial and housing interest, we are built up to our borders, but have to find new and innovative ways to build more social housing, for hard working families. Constant change and directives from National Government make our job even harder. Crawley has always punched above its weight and many other towns follow where we lead.
This year in May I will complete 30 years as a Crawley Borough Councillor, I am often asked, why I continue to seek re-election and go to so many meetings, Crawley has been a good place for me and my family since my parents moved here in 1958, I value the opportunities I have gained from my life here, I want to see those opportunities going forward for the future, we still have much to do and our work will never be complete, but living and working in Crawley is always exciting. Our Town motto "I grow and I rejoice" has never been so apt.
Councillor Brenda Smith