After leaving local government in 1996, I joined the LibDem Party in Ryedale, where I continued to live. Soon after, I became the Secretary of the area party (ie the constituency organisation). I also became a school governor of Malton School
In 1997 I was Keith Orrell’s agent for the General Election. Keith succeeded in cutting the Conservative majority to just over 5,000 votes – quite an achievement in a country constituency.
In 2003 I was elected as a District Councillor to Ryedale District Council. I rapidly became unhappy and disillusioned. At the same time, another councillor, David Clarkson, a member of the Conservative Group, became unhappy and disillusioned with his group. We decided to set up our own political group called the “Ryedale Residents”. David Clarkson is a retired senior police officer.
One reason for our unhappiness was the apparent willingness of all three of the main political groups on the Council to accept without question recommendations which had previously been agreed between Group Leaders, particularly when this seemed to be against the interests of the public we believed we were elected to represent. As both of us had had long experience in senior positions in the public service, we could see options and opportunities which were not being presented.
Our concerns were shown to be fully justified when car park charges were increased by 25% as from 1st April 2005 – to the utter horror and surprise of the local business community in particular, as well as of residents in general. The increase was meant to plug a gap in the budget of £171,000, but by the end of July 1995, it became apparent that, instead of a deficit of £171,000, there was in fact a surplus of £270,000! We immediately suggested that, now the Council was in surplus, car park charges should be put down again. David and I then embarked on a year long campaign to get the decision changed. We were eventually successful (see below). I led the campaign.
In 2007, David decided not to stand for re-election. I was re-elected as an Independent.
In about 1999, the Gazette and Herald invited me to write a monthly article under the heading “Ryeview”. I have been writing articles continuously since then. I kept most of these articles on my PC, and, in 2005 set up this website and copied my articles to it.
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