The Mayor of Horncastle has delivered an impassioned plea to residents and businesses to support his calls to make a ‘fantastic town’ even better.
Coun Brian Burbidge was speaking at the annual town meeting held in the Community Centre last Wednesday.
Speaking to an audience of councillors and the public, Coun Burbidge outlined a number of initiatives already underway to improve Horncastle, and to attract more visitors.
He urged residents and businesses to ‘join forces’ and work with the town council and other organisations to ‘really make a difference.’
Coun Burbidge, who is chairman of the town council, said: “We have so much to be proud of. Horncastle is a fantastic little town but we all want to make it even better.
“We want Horncastle to be a place people want to visit and to stay for as long as possible - so they are spending and helping local businesses.
“I am happy to talk to anyone. If you see me out and about in the street come up and talk to me.
“I want to know what people think. Working together, we can make a real difference.”
Coun Burbidge was recently re-elected as mayor-chairman for a second year and said he was ‘proud and honoured’ to join a small band of people who have achieved that feat.
However, he acknowledged it was vital more volunteers come forward to help with projects, and admitted the attendance at the annual meeting was ‘disappointing.’
A fascinating talk from World War One expert Mike Credland did bring in a handful of people, but the town council was hoping for a much bigger turn out.
Coun Burbidge outlined a number of projects the council had been involved in during the last 12 months - notably the completion of the £7.1m flood alleviation scheme which he said had already proved its worth.
Coun Burbidge outlined ongoing plans to complete a much needed new cemetery.
He praised councillors for their ‘hard work and commitment’ during the last 12 months.
Looking to the future, longer term projects highlighted by Coun Burbidge included a new recreation ground/skate park.
He also confirmed the town council would be taking on a number of responsibilities from East Lindsey District Council in a ‘transfer of assets.’
He confirmed ELDC would continue to run profit-making car parks in the town - and receive income from the industrial estate.
However, Coun Burbidge maintained there were ‘other areas’ of Horncastle that would benefit from coming under town council control.
He outlined how Horncastle would become only the second town council in the country - and the first in Lincolnshire - to be handed powers to make planning decisions.
Coun Burbidge stressed the town council would not be deciding major projects, like applications for new housing estates.
However, he revealed smaller applications regarding changes to individual properties could come under town council control although negotiations with ELDC were, he added, still ongoing.
He said the council was keen to develop the riverbank alongside Coronation Walk as a picnic area and welcomed the re-opening of the Luncheon Clubs and the setting up of a new club for over-50s as positives.
He said the town council would move from the library to new offices at Stanhope Hall on June 8 and also stressed councillors were keen have a major say in campaigns like the Coastal Highway project, designed to help end Horncastle’s notorious traffic jams.