Former Uckfield town councillor Mick Harker writes in an email: I do feel it a bit remiss of the present town council to allow the departure of the Uckfield town clerk to happen with hardly any public recognition of the amount of hard work he has put into the community over the last 15 years.
Agreed, it is the elected councillors who come up with the ideas on how the council will benefit the electorate but it is the team of full time staff, led by Ashley who have turned (sometimes wacky) ideas into reality.
Working behind the scenes, Ashley has investigated, discussed, compiled reports, organised and gently advised councillors on what they can and can’t do within the boundaries of being a town councillor.
Sometimes that advice has been hard to accept by councillors but Ashley has always attempted to find a compromise position that moves an idea forward without bringing litigation threats to the council.
It has been a difficult path to tread at times, especially dealing with 15 people who have all stood for election and who all have positive (but not always practical) ideas on what a town council should and can do!
And what a lot has been achieved under his watchful eye. In the activity arena, the town now has an all-weather pitch, modern tennis courts, a skate park, a Multi-Use Games Area (MUGA) and a programme for updating all the play areas to the same standard as the one by Osborn Hall in Hempstead Lane.
We have green initiatives in some of the council’s buildings that not only save energy and reduce our carbon footprint but also produce an income to keep the council tax down.
There are now more allotments available than at any time in the town’s history, more youth shelters, bus shelters, litter bins, salt bins and seats to make things that little bit better for the community.
Of course we shouldn’t forget the expansion of the open spaces, woods and nature reserves the town possesses, maintained by a group of groundsmen and a ranger – all part of the town council support team that ultimately report to Ashley.
His long experience of local government and network of other town clerks has been a huge benefit to running, with his team what is, in effect a multifaceted business with a turnover of around £1,300,000.
Without his input, councillors’ ideas would have remained just that, ideas.
So, even if our present town councillors haven’t appreciated what they are losing, as a long term resident of the town and a former councillor I would like to say, on behalf of the community, a big “Thank You” to Ashley for all your commitment to our town and to wish you well as you embark on the next chapter of your life.
More on Uckfield News about town clerk Ashley Serpis bowing out here:
District council is over-zealous with parking tickets
Chris Lawson writes in an email to UckfieldNews.com: Well Wealden Council have the bit between their teeth! There are 17 private car spaces behind Pepper Dining and the Diane Hutt Gallery in the High Street. To access these spaces we have to drive through the Regency Close public car park.
When the proposal to install these new cameras with number plate recognition was made for the public car park I contacted Wealden Council back in February.
There had been no warning about the works and I was concerned that people using the private spaces would get tickets. There was no satisfactory explanation as to how this would be avoided despite a number of terse emails.
Guess what happened this week yes £60 tickets started arriving. My wife has one and staff working for Candlelite Care have three so far. I am told that eventually they will be cancelled.
So despite assurances that what I feared wouldn’t happen it has. The word incompetence comes to mind!