Here is a letter I printed and distributed to every house in the ward before I tended my resignation.
Two years ago I asked for your support to fight Alkane, provide facilities for teenagers, and challenge waste by Bolsover Council.Fortunately we did stop Alkane, however you may not know what is being done for young people. New teenager play facilities will be installed in both Hodthorpe and Whitwell this year and Extreme Wheels will be running open sessions at Hodthorpe Recreation Ground every Wednesday evening from 5pm to 7pm and on Bakestone Moor Recreation Ground on the first Tuesday of each month from 7pm to 9pm. Thanks to the wonderful volunteers (more needed!), and the generosity of those who gave funding, we have also started a voluntary youth club on Tuesday evenings in Friendship Hall from 7pm to 9pm.
I have had less success with challenging Council waste. Bolsover is the only Council to ignore independent advice and pay its Councillors the highest basic allowance in the country. Along with their travel expenses, and luxuries like a new civic car, it leaves a large bill. In two years Council housing rents will have gone-up by nearly 15%, and many people on Council tax benefit face cuts. Public toilets have closed and the Council’s Community houses are also threatened.
Most worryingly of all, in spite of the enormous opposition from the people of Bolsover town, the Council has cut a deal with a supermarket chain that will see the town’s cherished Sherwood Green buried in tarmac and the Council’s modern offices demolished. As part of this project Bolsover Council have wasted over £5M buying and renovating Clowne Campus and over £2M will be spent on another new office in Bolsover. Unsurprisingly the Audit Commission assess that Bolsover Council is one of the worst in the country at showing value for money.
Over the last two years hundreds of people in Whitwell and Hodthorpe have sought my advice. I have enjoyed helping them and living in this area. I recently qualified as a Children’s Social Worker and am now moving to a new job in the Welsh borders. This means there will be a by-election in Whitwell and I hope you will have the opportunity of voting for a Green Party candidate again but that depends upon someone coming forward to stand. These are difficult times in the village and representing your community is more important than ever. If you are interested in standing email me on firstname.lastname@example.org, or call me on 726349. Don’t worry if you’ve got no experience, the Council provides training, all you need is the passion and commitment to make a difference!
I wish you, and your family, well for the future.
Cllr Duncan Kerr (Green Party)
District Councillor for Whitwell and Parish Councillor for Hodthorpe.