Agenda item

Closing Remarks

Minutes:

The Leader of the Council, Councillor J A Kite thanked and congratulated all Members for their service to the Dartford community in what had been another exceptionally difficult year.

 

He welcomed the return to an ‘in-person’ Annual Council meeting, the first since 2019 but also noted that during his extended term in of office, it was the first Annual Meeting that the late and sadly missed Councillor Ann Allen MBE had not attended. However, he was sure Ann was with them in spirit. He continued to miss her guidance, advice and knowledge on a daily basis, with her calm presence and people skills and understated appreciation of her own skills and achievements, including two terms as Mayor in addition to her long-serving roles as KCC, Borough and Parish Councillor. He recounted a typical self-deprecating tale Ann often told of herself, of being stopped at the Gates of Heaven by St. Peter, who kindly but firmly advised Ann that ‘the staff entrance was round the back’ She was and would continue to be sorely missed and he had been honoured to attend a recent tribute ceremony in Ann’s honour at Canterbury Cathedral.

 

On a more positive note, looking forward, the Leader welcomed Councillors Sue Butterfill and Anita Barham [formerly of the Independent Group] to his Group. He said that the Conservative Group was a broad-based church and Members with proven community achievements were always welcome.

 

He also renewed his congratulations to Councillor Kelly Grehan on her recent election to the Leadership of the Labour and Co-operative Group, and paid tribute to her predecessor Councillor Sacha Gosine, who had had a difficult tenure as Labour Leader and endured both family loss and personal illness in the past year. He hoped that Cllr. Gosine would return to the Chamber soon.

 

The Leader also wished to make special mention of the Mrs Sheri Green, the former Director for Strategic Services (External) including oversight of the Council’s Housing policy, who he said had been a wonderful officer with consummate skills and diplomacy who had served a succession of Leaders and Chief Officers. He was pleased to announce that one of the Council’s latest new builds, a block of 6 flats was to be named ‘Sheri Court’ in her memory on 12 May and that all Members were welcome to attend the ceremony.

 

He next addressed the Council’s significant Platinum Jubilee celebrations planned in honour of Her Majesty the Queen’s 70 years of outstanding public service, which would surpass the Diamond Jubilee celebrations marking Queen Victoria’s reign. More than a dozen major events were planned in the Borough, and the Council had assisted with funding of some 78 Street Parties.

 

He looked forward to working with all Members in the Committees, Boards and Panels that had been confirmed that evening. He also looked forward to working with Members of other Groups on non-statutory bodies and Leader’s Group bodies including Planet Dartford, which Councillors Laura Edie and Sacha Gosine had joined. He had proposed a new Leader’s Working Group on Equalities (under the direction of Lead Member Tom Oliver), which Cllrs. Laura Edie and Emma Ben Moussa had agreed to join. A further new Leader’s Working Group was proposed to consider CIL (Community Infrastructure Levy) funding for non-Parished areas of the Boroughand he proposed to continue his commitment to involving Members from across the chamber. In concluding his comments, the Leader looked forward to a calmer year despite the prospect of further Elections.

 

The Mayor advised that the official proceedings had now concluded and invited all Members, Official Guests and family members to join him in the adjacent Committee Room B12 for some light refreshments.

 

 

The meeting closed at 8.00 pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                             MAYOR