New chairman vows to make Bury Town Council do more for town

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Making the tax payers’ money work harder for the town is part of Bury St Edmunds Town Council’s new chairman’s vision for the future.

Though Andrew Speed was only elected to the council at the beginning of the month, he has a history of working with them as a former chairman of OurBuryStEdmunds and says he wants to build on what the council has done before.

But he said: “The town council has, in my opinion, not delivered as much as it should in the past few years.

“There are now nine new councillors who share a commitment in making the town council offer more and contribute more to the community.”

He said the June town council meeting would look at a revised budget with plans to include a locality budget for each councillor.

That would be similar to the locality budgets on the borough and county councils, that can be directed to approved projects in the councillors’ wards.

He added: “Part of the revised budget will be to reassess our reserves and look at what our community grant facilities can be this year.

“That’s not to say we’re going to be splashing money about – we’ll try to make the money work harder for the town.”

He said that because many of the new councillors were also borough councillors, he hoped it would allow the town council to work more closely with the borough.

It will also try to work more closely with other community groups, such as OurBuryStEdmunds and Bury in Bloom, and the charities who work in the community.

He added: “The town council, like the borough and county, only work well with the community participating and taking a role.

“We’re actively looking to residents to participate and if they have got something that requires support, they’ve got to let us know about it.”

Though Cllr Speed is a past chairman of Bury St Edmunds Conservatives, he said: “I’m not really interested in the town council being a party political organisation, and I’ve told them that.

“There was too much party political bickering and not enough focus on what the matter in hand was.”

Cllr Speed said that as a chairman and now a board member of OurBuryStEdmunds he had been doing his bit for the town with his business hat on and it was now time to do it with his ‘democratic hat on’.

He added: “We have a lovely town – it really is the jewel in the Suffolk crown – but it won’t stay like that unless we keep chivvying it forwards.

“You have to look at how do you keep it as this lovely Suffolk town but recognise that it’s growing?”