North Devon Journal Column - 20/12/18

It’s been quite a year.  The temptation is to make this column about Brexit – again.  However, as important an issue as it is, it’s time for a break.  If you still haven’t had your fill, you can read about my views and the latest position on my website.

As this is the final column before Christmas, and the last of the year, it’s an opportunity for a bit of reflection.  Let’s take a break from all the noise and division, if only for a few days.

Looking back, one of the highlights of the year for me was the announcement that we’d won the bid for government funding for major improvements to the North Devon Link Road.  A detailed planning application has now been submitted, and we’re still on course for work to begin in 2020 (won’t it be good soon to be able to say ‘next year’).

Another major local issue is the continuing campaign to save RMB Chivenor from closure.  I wrote about this two weeks ago and there will be much more to come in the near future.  Just this week, I handed a letter to the Defence Secretary putting him on notice that our community will put up with the uncertainty no longer.  We won’t give up.

Aside from those big issues, and others including our health service and schools to which I devote a great deal of time, one of the pleasures of the job is dealing with peoples’ individual cases.  It’s great to be able to sort out a problem which may have been troubling someone for many months.  It’s really good too when people take the trouble to say ‘thank you’.  It’s particularly appreciated, not only by me personally, but for my hardworking team as well.

I will end with a thank you of my own – thank you to everyone who is working over the holiday period.  Whether in the public and emergency services, in retail and hospitality, or in the voluntary sector, we appreciate your work.

All that remains is to wish all Journal readers a happy and peaceful Christmas and all the best for 2019.