Crawley Observer Column, Wednesday 11th May 2016

With all the attention in the national news over recent weeks, there must be few residents left unaware that local elections took place last Thursday and that Crawley Borough Council was the most marginal authority in the UK.

Could I take this opportunity to thank all those who took the time to vote, whoever they voted for, and to say how grateful we are for every ballot cast for Crawley Labour candidates, whether they won the seat or not. We recognise every vote cast represents an act of trust on the part of a neighbour and we’re very aware of the duty we have to live up to the faith people invest in us.

Against a backdrop of gloomy predictions, Labour in Crawley not only retained every seat we were defending but gained an additional seat in Southgate. I’m thrilled to welcome Mike Pickett back onto the council, a man whose commitment to his local community has always stood out, in addition to our new Crawley Labour councillors: Rory Fiveash, Tahira Rana and Carlos Castro.

For the re-elected Labour council the problems ahead are clear. Housing in the town is too expensive, with local kids forced out by high prices. Too many of the town’s best paying jobs go to those commuting in from outside and everyone wants to see the town centre restored to its former glory. We face unprecedented cuts from central government, but as residents we shouldn’t just accept our neighbourhoods will decline nor our local services stagnate due to bad decisions taken in Whitehall. The challenges are significant, but no one is coming to rescue us and as a council we must find a way to solve the problems the Government has chosen not to. Things will be tough, but not impossible.

Whether you chose to support us at the election last week or not, Crawley Borough Council is your council and as Leader I am determined that the council will continue to work to represent and improve the quality of life for everyone in the town. Together we will build a better future for Crawley.

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