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Outgoing Long Melford clerk praises ‘unified’ parish council after turbulent period

PUBLISHED: 16:31 20 April 2017 | UPDATED: 16:31 20 April 2017

Long Melford. To go with Lovejoy story.

Long Melford. To go with Lovejoy story.

Long Melford’s parish council – whose meetings once drew visits from the police and national newspaper coverage – now finds itself in a more stable position after a year of unification, says outgoing clerk Jayne Cole who has handed in her notice.

She took over last year following the sudden resignation of Jill Gould, not long after Graham Eade became the parish’s third chairman of 2016 by just May.

However, both Mr Eade and Ms Cole have worked together over the past year with the rest of the councillors towards a number of projects for the village, including a neighbourhood plan, increasing space in the village car park for coaches and building a new council office in Cordell Road.

“Yes I think they’ve achieved an awful lot since I’ve been there and have taken lots of projects forward and all being well they’ll carry on in the same vein,” Ms Cole said when asked if she had helped ‘steady the ship’ for councillors.

“On the whole they’re a more unified unit and work together on things most of the time. There’s no infighting at meetings and they conduct themselves in a proper manner.”

She said her Clare-based business Local Council Public Advisory Service had gone from strength to strength and was now taking up more of her time than had been anticipated when she took on the role in Long Melford.

Chairman Mr Eade thanked Ms Cole: “It’s been a really good time,” he said. “All in all there’s been a lot of things going on and I think we’ve worked well with Jayne. I only became a parish councillor om January 2016 and in April the same year I was chairman, so it was an into-the-frying-pan situation for me.

“I think Jayne and myself have worked well together and quietened it all down and the trouble seems to have died down a bit. I think it’s getting better. A lot of people and residents are saying it’s a lot better.”

He said he was looking forward to the numerous project’s on the council’s plate, including developing a neighbourhood plan.

“I think it’s flown by to be honest,” he said of his first year, “when I took over the previous clerk had left so it left us in a period where we were trying to find a replacement and it left us in a difficult position. Jayne came in and sorted it out and that’s made life a lot easier.”

A recruitment process will now take place to find a replacement.

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