First time at Annual Town Meeting

I WAS an interested first-time observer at the Annual Town Meeting of Huntingdon Town Council on May 2 (that event in the year when town councillors are exposed to challenge by local residents for their work over the previous 12 months).

The weather was not wonderful, which may explain the low audience level. That was a pity, because following a great introduction to the local Business Improvement District (BID) by manager Katy Sismore, there was also a short but sparky discussion of the reasons for the decline of Huntingdon High Street, with special mention given to the contrast between Huntingdon and St Ives markets. (Though Huntingdon is traditionally a “market town”, actually the local markets held here these days are pretty dismal and low-key, in contrast to the thriving affairs in St Ives!).

It was clear that a more efficient interplay between the various councils (town, district and county) that control Huntingdon’s development would help matters.

I’m hoping that the new websites promised by BID and the town council may also help get more interaction and feedback from Huntingdon townspeople, something which would be good to see, because this meeting felt under-represented, to me.

A lack of fresh faces at this meeting was a noticeable feature. Attendance by local councillors seemed also rather patchy.

From the town council, while the four Labour and Liberal Democrat councillors were all present, if I got it right, eight out of 15 Conservative Councillors were absent, and this for a meeting where the date would have been known months ahead.

And while representatives of both Conservative and Liberal Democrat county councillors were on hand the newly elected UKIP county councillor was noticeable by his absence.

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With all the new development (business and domestic) either already happening or planned for the next few years in Huntingdon, I think we should all take a closer interest in what they get up to.

Getting it right, or not, will affect all of us who live here — remember the fate of the public footpath that became the Wilkinson Locked Gate!

The new flats in Primrose Lane whose extra sewage will feed into existing Tennis Court Road sewers whether anyone likes ft or not; the unexplained change of name from Cromwell Square to Park Square by the property developer involved; the new district housing developments which dearly need challenging by groups like Stop Houghton East Development (S.H.E.D.) a all of these things suggest we need to take more time, and pay more attention, to the quality of our collective decision-making.

Richard Flynn

Ashton Gardens,