Firstly I congratulate my predecessor, Coun. Cooper, who has transformed a council known for talking a lot and delivering little, to a council of action.
Burnley Bridge, Innovation Drive, the Todmorden Curve, Manchester Road Railway Station and the Weavers’ Triangle have all been taken from the town hall committee rooms to actual bricks, tracks and mortar. The partnership established with local businesses and entrepreneurs has been recognised nationally as best practice. Burnley is now a place to invest and do business.
I am taking over at a time when Government cuts are hitting the council hard. Tough choices lie ahead as we reform our services to meet the financial realities of a 19% cut in our Government grant. Reform will be hard but it is vital if we are to maintain our front line services and continue to support growth in our local economy.
Significant deprivation challenges remain for our borough which will not be solved easily. Our achievement in becoming the most enterprising town in the UK and the Clarets’ fantastic promotion to the Premier League will not solve these problems but they provide opportunities we need to exploit to further enhance our growing reputation.
It is an exciting time to become the council leader and I look forward to building on the achievements of my predecessor.
Coun. Mark Townsend
Burnley Council Leader