'Promising start' for independent administration says Central Bedfordshire Council's leader

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The first independent local authority administration in England has made a “promising start”, according to the leader of Central Bedfordshire Council.

Independent Potton councillor Adam Zerny told CBC’s annual council meeting: “A year ago, I spoke about the fact I wanted us to be a very transparent, a clear and approachable administration.

“I hope that’s been the case during the past 12 months,” he said. “I’ve certainly had conversations with many of you about issues which are important to you, and I hope that openness has been helpful.

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“That year has gone quickly. Perhaps that’s a sign of ageing. If we didn’t have any idea how hard it was going to be 12 months ago, we really do now.

Central Bedfordshire Council leader Adam Zerny.Central Bedfordshire Council leader Adam Zerny.
Central Bedfordshire Council leader Adam Zerny.

“We’re a very different council. As a minority administration, we’ve called upon all of you to scrutinise us and ask the difficult questions, which you’ve done, in a way that hasn’t always been the case on the council.

“Scrutiny runs in an effective manner now. We’ve felt challenged and I hope we’ve reacted to that in a positive way, not been too defensive while arguing our case.

“But we’ve also been prepared to accept changes. I look at the strategic plan and the way we altered that gradually as a sign of out commitment to working with scrutiny.

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“We’ve brought in new committees, with the special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) sub-committee, and the police and crime advisory panel, which we’re pretty proud of the way they’ll work in the year ahead.

“All of our residents have reason to be positive about the future,” he explained. “Plenty of things are happening in Central Bedfordshire we can be pleased about.

“There’s the Universal Studios development, which hopefully will get the green light in the months to come. This will bring great benefits to this area, not least to those who enjoy a theme park. And it’ll attract business to the area and that can’t be a bad thing.

“We’ve got East West Rail on the way and we’ve held conversations with Cranfield and other major institutions and businesses across the area, such as Luton Hoo in south Bedfordshire, which is hopefully looking to bring the Ryder Cup to the county in years to come.

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“If there was to be a school report of our efforts as an administration during the last year, it would say we can’t afford to sit back. We must get on with it.

“We’ve three years left and we need to make sure the plan we’ve put in place is implemented and for that we need to work with all of you. We want all of your input to ensure this strategic plan is something of which we all feel proud.

“Such a report might also praise us for our numeracy skills, but it would also say we need to stick to those numbers in future years.

“Overall, the conclusion would be that we’ve made a very promising start,” he added. “There’s plenty of work to be done, but we should be proud of what’s happened so far.”