THE new chair of Saddleworth Parish Council has promised to tackle changes and challenges to help protect our ‘very special corner of the world’.
Cllr Jamie Curley took the reins for 2019-20 from outgoing chair Rob Knotts in May at the official handover event at the Civic Hall in Uppermill.
Cllr Curley, now in his second term on the Parish Council, thanked voters and fellow councillors for bestowing “this great honour and privilege” upon him.
He said: “We meet at a time of change and challenge. Not my words but those of John F Kennedy in 1962. He ended that speech by promising America would, by the end of that decade, send a man to the moon and return him safely to earth.
“Now, I’m not promising Saddleworth is about to enter the next space race, but the phrase of a time of change and challenge does sum up where we are currently.
“Much change has happened and is continuing to happen. Change in population, expectations, tourism, housing, green spaces, transport, demographics, and our relationship with both Oldham and Greater Manchester.
“Many challenges face us also, not least is the impending decisions on the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework, health care and the consequences of social isolation, pressure on roads and transport and the ongoing issue of moorland fires.
“All of these will require ideas and input from many sources and this is one area where you will find Saddleworth Parish Council leading the efforts to find solutions.
“Ours is a very special corner of the world – 13 villages, each with its own character and unique feeling. Our rugged and beautiful landscape, and our fantastic wealth and breadth of cultural events many of which attract visitors from around the UK and the world.
“We want Saddleworth to remain special while making it also a superb place to live, work and bring up families. But this takes commitment.
“We as councillors all made a commitment when we took our seats. As chairman I make a commitment to my fellow councillors and the people of Saddleworth that I will make it my task to enable us to work together to meet all the challenges that face us and put in place the solutions which will benefit Saddleworth and allow us to grow and prosper.
“We can do this through our shared commitment, shared ideas and shared love of our community.”
Cllr Curley will be supported by his wife Debbie during his year in office, while the chair’s charity committee will help organise events to benefit local causes.
Cllr Barbara Beeley was voted in as vice chairman of the Parish Council and the vice chairman’s lady will be Val Sedgwick.
A vote of thanks was given to outgoing chair Mr Knotts and his wife Lesley for their hard work over the last 12 months, attending 70 events and raising £11,000 for more than 30 local charities.
Mr Knotts commented: “It’s been an honour and privilege to represent Saddleworth.
“We have waved the flag for Saddleworth. Concerts, civic dinners, community meals, flea markets, jumble sales, mayoral services, coffee mornings, church services, and wreath laying have been part of our year in office. I even had to judge an Easter Bonnet competition.
“Lesley and I thank you for allowing us to be exposed to such a variety of life and interests in Saddleworth and elsewhere.”
• Cllr Curley’s Civic Service was held at St. Edwards Church, Spring Lane, Lees, on June 2, with special guests including the Mayor of Oldham Cllr Ginny Alexander and consort Adrian Alexander and local and visiting civic dignitaries and Parish councillors.