EXCLUSIVE: The leader of Burntwood Town Council has confirmed he will step down next month.
Cllr Richard Mosson says he will relinquish his position at the helm of the controlling Conservative group.
He added that his 12 months in charge had been “very hard work but enjoyable none the less”.
Cllr Mosson will officially hand over the baton in May, with Cllr Helen Fisher expected to step into the leader’s seat.
Read Cllr Mosson’s full statement on his resignation below:
“I will be stepping down in May, but that is not unusual as we are a group of 16 and are rotating the responsibility of being leader – just as Labour did during the previous four years.
“It has been very hard work but enjoyable none the less, there was certainly a lot of work to do when we took over last May. The previous council, under Labour control, were in the middle of a staff review when the elections took place and the plans to take over responsibility of the Old Mining College building were already well advanced.
“This eventually led to a 35% increase in the small precept which the Town Council takes as part of the Council Tax, which worked out at £10 per year on a band D property this led to a lot of criticism from the opposition and in the press. I would like to know how they were intending to avoid this increase on what was essentially their own plan?
“They will spout the usual nonsense that they would have saved money elsewhere and restructured the workings of the council differently. But the truth is that they would have been in exactly the same position and probably worse given the example of thousands of pounds being wasted each year on updating social media, for example.
“Labour will probably unearth the story of the consort’s chain again claiming this was a waste of money. It was a bit less than £400 and will be an asset to the council, therefore I would argue differently, especially as it fell inside the budget of the chairman which of course was set by themselves, so essentially this has not cost the taxpayer a penny.
“The positives are that the Old Mining College Centre building, its residents and the groups that use this site will benefit from a building which has a positive future. It has new IT facilities and is currently undergoing various improvements.
“The council officially move from Lambourne House within the next week or two and the official reopening of the Old Mining College Centre takes place on May 8.
“Other positives are the very successful play in the parks, which will be back bigger and better in 2016, and the Christmas Fayre which will also return bigger, better and brighter this year.
“Then there is the Wakes which will be back close to its original format and back at Burntwood Baths, where it belongs with the successful Push Kart derby as an add-on. And who can forget our brand new shed!
“As a controlling group we have been working hard behind the scenes and have been in discussion with other councils and bodies and we are very hopeful that finally Burntwood will get the retail offering it needs to boost the local economy and improve areas in the town that have been left derelict for years.
“The town is finally moving forward. We will welcome hundreds of new residents who will be moving in to the Milestone Way development in the next few years. They will be moving to a town which will be evolving to cater for their needs. We will also be welcoming many new visitors with the newly erected welcome signs.
“Having taken responsibility of the Neighbourhood Plan, we have welcomed members of the public to join this committee in order to ensure that it can be non-political in its ambitions, and will work hard to deliver a robust plan for the town.
“We are fully a aware of the need for improved healthcare facilities. Essentially, responsibility of these services lies with Staffordshire County Council and the NHS, but as town councillors we will continue to work hard and lobby for action.
“All in all Burntwood is becoming a better place to be. As well as all of the above we now have a Costa and a McDonalds to look forward to which we hope will be the catalyst for more activity and development in what essentially is the town centre.
“I would add thanks to my group too, in particular my two deputies Cllr Heather Tranter, Cllr Helen Fisher and the Chairman Cllr Pam Stokes for all of their hard work and support.
“I would also like to thank Cllr Darren Ennis from the opposition group who has worked with us this year and has done so much for the defibrillators we are planning to install in the town and has recently run the London Marathon for this cause.
“I wish the new Conservative leader of Burntwood Town Council all of the very best and I will continue to work hard for Burntwood and the council.”