Barry Peters: Bury St Edmunds expects new St Edmundsbury chief to deliver

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Whenever someone starts a new job, the first few weeks – even months – can be a steady time and an opportunity to take stock. It’s probably not the time to rock the boat or to contemplate too much change.

That’s what St Edmundsbury’s new chief Ian Gallin might expect when he rolls in to start earning his £105,000 salary.

Bury St Edmunds, though, is a town enjoying major change, whatever people may think or hope.

When I first arrived here in 1999, the whiff of the Cattle Market was (just about) still in the air. There was no cinema, the arc was still a Biblical tale and the Abbey Gardens were the jewel in the town’s crown (well, some things never change).

Fast forward to 2012. Imagine if you’d gone away for those intervening years and decided to re-visit the town for a nostalgic look around.

Now get out the crystal ball – and look forward to 2031. If St Edmundsbury’s vision of the future – Vision 2031 – reaches fruition, we will once again have a very different town to the one we have now.

But we have a voice, each and every one of us, in that future. It’s important we all contribute to the Vision document and shape the future into one we are happy with.

Bury said its farewells to outgoing council supremo Geoff Rivers on Thursday. His tenure has been short since taking over from his wife – now our county council boss – but he leaves having made many friends within West Suffolk House, by all accounts.

Now his successor must hit the ground running.

There are financial challenges to be faced and faced head-on. There are tough strategic decisions to be made.

Mr Gallin will have an established team behind him who can guide his every thought, if required. But this is a time, too, for innovation, blue-sky thought and strong leadership.

The past 10 years have been kind to Bury in many ways. Now we’re paying good money for some expertise to guide us through the next decade with the same care and attention and Bury expects results.

Barry Peters is editor of the Bury Free Press