Councillor Alan MacKender-Lawrence.

New chairman of Huntingdonshire District Council aims to help businesses, young people, and the farming community

Friday, May 30, 2014
10.07 AM

Alan Mackender-Lawrence – the new chairman of Huntingdonshire District Council – can boast a varied CV.

It includes a career in the RAF, ­supplying wine to the supermarket chains, working in insurance, running a pub, and a few years as a community contact officer with Cambridgeshire police.

In his two years as chairman, the Huntingdon North councillor’s aim will be to include a focus on the business community and what HDC can do to support firms – especially the ­micro-businesses that may otherwise go under the radar.

There will also be an emphasis on ­helping children bridge the gap between school or college and the workplace, as well as an ambition to work with the farming community to look at ways of helping to tackle rural issues, such as crime.

“The district is quite large and there are a number of small businesses out there – people working from home or who have an online business – that don’t get the chance to discuss the issues or the red tape that’s causing them problems,” said Cllr Mackender-Lawrence.

“One idea is to have a forum for ­businesses – large or small – where they can ask officers from HDC about issues.”

Another of his plans draws on his ­experience working as a community contact officer with the county’s police force – at one stage he was responsible for organising a rural community crime conference.

Now defunct, the conference took place at the Burgess Hall, St Ives. Expect to see this back in some form.

Another area will see Cllr Mackender-Lawrence continue the work of his ­predecessor Barbara Boddington, who visited many schools to talk about the work of HDC and councillors.

While he has not chosen to support particular charities during his time as chairman, there will be fundraising events and the money will be donated to a Huntingdonshire charity that has a need at the time.

Born in London, Cllr Mackender-Lawrence’s family moved to Oxmoor in the 1970s and were heavily involved in community life – his mother Cecilia Lawrence served as Huntingdon mayor twice, in 1983 and 1989.

While his work took him to various parts of the country, he moved back to Huntingdonshire in 1992 and lives on Oxmoor – somewhere he is passionate about and feels is unfairly criticised and ­type-cast by people who know little about the area and its community.

Married to Christine, Cllr Mackender-Lawrence, who now works for B&Q, has played badminton at a high level, supports Young Enterprise and undertakes a ­variety of community roles as varied as his own career.

“I always felt it was important to stand up and be counted,” he said.

“If you see something that needs doing, then put yourself forward and volunteer to do something.”