After 18 years in the role, I have made the decision to stand down as Leader of Test Valley Borough Council, it is mid term in the Council calendar and I feel it is the right time. Standing down now will give the new leader and Cabinet two years to prepare for the changes and get themselves well settled in ready for the election challenge in 2019, which will be under the new warding arrangements.
They say that you know when it’s the right time to give up, I had that feeling very early in 2016. Having discussed my decision with my Cabinet early in 2016 and agreed a plan of action, I advised the Chief Executive and Corporate Directors of the plan and my intention to stand down in May 2017.
I have served the communities of Test Valley to the best of my ability for 18 years, and I believe that now is the best time to pass the baton to a successor who is able to make a long term commitment to our residents and businesses.
It’s been brilliant working with everybody, councillors and staff, all of whom are dedicated and work hard to deliver excellent services to all residents. The Council is an efficient, effective, low cost and very well run council and I am very proud of what the Council has delivered to the residents during my term as Leader. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.
There were several reasons for my decision in 2016;
∞ It was never my intention to stand again as a councillor in 2019.
∞ The inevitable consequences of the government’s ill-fated devolution agenda required a long term vision for the future provision of public services in Test Valley, and a commitment to delivering that vision.
∞ The referendum was, of course, in the offing (now Brexit) and, whichever way the vote went, I felt that there would be challenges which needed to be addressed in the context of a leadership strategy which went well beyond 2019.
∞ The boundaries of the wards in Test Valley were being redrawn with fewer councillors.
∞ With all the issues I could see arising, I felt that the members who were going to inherit that future should be making the decisions going forward.
∞ I’ve been through one reorganization, one bid for unitarisation, ward changes and changes in to the way in which the council operated. I did not really want to go through that all over again.
∞ I believe that my legacy will speak for itself, and that my family now deserve more of my time than I have been able to give them during these last 18 years when it has been my privilege to serve as Leader of Test Valley Borough Council.
Around November 2016’ I was asked “Was I retiring at the end of the year.” I replied “No I was not retiring at the end of the year” Answer: Correct and True.
After the ‘town Centre’ incident, I was asked “was I resigning over the incident?” I replied. “I won’t resign over this issue, I want to continue with the plans that are in place.” Answer. Correct and True. The plan is as set out above and was put in place in 2016.
Ian Carr 14th March 2017