My First Year (or so) as a Councillor
The past 15 months or so have been a steep learning curve since being elected to Mid Holderness Ward in May 2019, and I thought I would take this time to reflect and let you know what I have been up to.
In the first 6 months since getting elected there was a lot of training and inductions to the council procedures and structure as well as the teams involved in running the council. I just started to settle in and then a global pandemic was declared and COVID 19 hit. That has meant the last few months have been especially testing with all the pressures that brings to the council, our residents and my role as a local elected representative.
COVID 19 still remains a top priority of mine and the councils, ensuring that as many services as possible can continue and residents get the support they need. As well as ensuring all the council employees and service users are safe within the government guidelines. East Riding of Yorkshire council is now working with the 3 Steps to Safety.
1 – Prevent, Wash your Hands & Respect Social Distancing
2 – Notice, Be aware of COVID 19 symptoms
3 – Act, Get tested & Self-Isolate
Luckily as lockdown restrictions are eased, we are now seeing things return to a level of normality, which is most likely to be the “new normal”. These include meetings starting to resume, less essential council services starting again and of course the pubs and restaurants have started to reopened!
All of this is in aid of getting the local and national economy going again and to support businesses and residents alike. The council is doing its bit with helping local businesses with grants to ensure they can survive these difficult times.
I have been working hard to ensure all residents’ concerns, issues and topics are dealt with the best way they can be. Here is a summary of the work I have been doing, some in conjunction with other Ward Colleagues and ERYC officers:
COVID 19 Community Support Groups, Advice and Support
- Ensuring these groups have the right support to help their community.
- Working with HEY Smile foundation, as part of the council’s community partnership strategy.
- Signposting groups to sources of funding to help them continue their activities.
Dealing with planning applications
- Calling in applications so they are considered by a committee.
- Providing a voice for residents for and against applications.
- Making sure that developments stay within their granted permissions, and alerting officers when they don’t.
Signposting residents to the right service or authority
- Passing on questions to the correct department so they can be dealt with affectively.
- Working with neighbouring Ward Colleagues to best represent our residents.
- Passing on issues to partner agencies when it is not a council issue.
Helping fight crime, especially Rural Crime
- Woking with Humberside Police to ensure residents know how breaches of COVID 19 regulations are addressed, using the 4 Es – Engage, Explain, Encourage and Enforcement.
- Ensure our most rural residents know what to do in the event of Rural Crime and the steps Humberside Police are taking to deal with it.
- Speaking to chief officers and the Police Crime Commissioner, making sure they are doing their job correctly and holding them to account.
Some of the largest issues which I have dealt with are:
- Travellers Rest Planning in Long Riston
- Two new large housing developments in Wawne.
- West Newton A and B Well Sites.
- Speeding and Traffic Calming across the whole ward
I am also working closely with Cllr Dennis of South West Holderness Ward on the new East Riding Crematorium that is being proposed by ERYC to be built in Preston. Along with Cllr Dennis, I have called for a full and in-depth public consultation to ensure that the project does not negatively affect many resident’s and that the consultation process is not just a box ticking exercise. More information can be found here: https://www.jacobbirch.co.uk/post/east-riding-crematorium-have-you-say
If you would like to raise an issue or simply just have a chat my contact details are below. I am happy to help and offer advice to residents, where I can.
Last but not least I am extremely proud to have been elected to Mid Holderness Ward as the youngest elected member in the Beverley and Holderness Constituency and one of the youngest on East Riding of Yorkshire Council.