Cllr Martin Thomas took over as Whaley Bridge’s new civic leader on Thursday, 9 May. Outgoing chair Cllr Anne Winter handed him the chain of office and the all important gavil as he became chair of Whaley Bridge Town Council.
Like other members of the town council, Martin is non-political in this role. But earlier, he was one of three town councillors fighting to become a County Councillor. Martin, as a Labour candidate in the county council elections earlier this month, nearly doubled the party’s vote from four years ago.
I do not entirely agree with the statement in the last paragraph. Seven members of the Town Council carry political labels (1 Conservative, 2 High Peak Independent Party, 1 Labour, and 3 Lib Dem). Even in debates on non-political topics such as commenting on planning applications, differences between the councillors’ views can be seen reflecting their party’s attitude to development control.
The role of Chair is primarily to ensure debates are conducted in an orderly and fair manner, and to ensure effectiveness in decision making. The role of representation is an important public aspect of the role, especially in a town with so many active community groups.