Since winning the election in May’s Canterbury District council elections, (with 31 seats of a possible 39 being Conservative) there has barely been time to take stock of the result, as council swung into full flow almost immediately.
The Conservative benches are a wonderful blend of genders, ages and most importantly ideas which will serve to stimulate some excellent debates over the coming council term.
While youth is no guarantee of new thoughts or enthusiasm, even opposition members and supporters must be pleased that so many young people have been elected to serve in Canterbury.
It is particularly impressive given that several young Tory councillors decided not to stand for re-election in May, only to be replaced by another wave of young, dynamic Conservative councillors.I wonder how many other district councils in the UK have such a high percentage of under 40s.
What is also pleasing to see is that many of the new intake are on the other side of 40 and have had careers away from politics but now bring expertise from a range of industries and sectors to the council chamber.
We have a new leader, a new whip and several new committee chairman and vice chairman, yet many of the old guard remain and provide invaluable experience and insight. This often gives context to issues that have been ongoing for many years.
The council has a new feel to it, in part due to the change in the governance system, in part due to the new councillors elected, but above all there is recognition that people want a different relationship with their elected representatives.
This new relationship is helping to foster an atmosphere of co-operation rather than confrontation which, while encouraging the public to come forward with ideas, will serve to stimulating the thinking of councillors and officers alike.
The Conservative brand in the Canterbury district is young, exciting, driven and engaging, all of which will help to serve the area we all love.