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New chief executive will help deliver our ambitions

Column by Coun Kelham Cooke, leader of South Kesteven District Council

For many people, last week was the first full week back at work following the Christmas and New Year break.

Although the holiday may not have been long enough for some, for others, me included, it was good to get back into a routine, the return of a bit of normality.

Coun Kelham Cooke (17790662)
Coun Kelham Cooke (17790662)

I hit the ground running, along with fellow members of South Kesteven District Council’s employment committee, as we put five shortlisted candidates through rigorous interviews and tests to find a new chief executive to support us in making our district the one to watch.

There is still a process to be completed but I am extremely pleased that the panel was able to reach a unanimous decision in proposing Karen Bradford as our new permanent chief executive.

For me, there couldn’t be a better start to 2020 than being able to move forward so positively into a new year and a new decade.

Since I became SKDC leader last year, I have been clear that I want SKDC to work collaboratively, whether that is across political parties, from bin round to boardroom, or between elected representatives and officers. And I want to work with a chief executive who shares my approach to collaboration and my passion for delivery.

Getting this appointment right couldn’t be more important because having a dynamic and inspirational chief executive at the helm will help us to deliver our big ambitions and the day-to-day services for our communities.

On Monday, I had the honour of meeting astronaut Tim Peake at Woolsthorpe Manor. Tim presented successful bidders with saplings grown from pips from Newton’s apple tree that had been blasted into space with him and subsequently nurtured at Kew Gardens. They will be planted across the country, including one at Woolsthorpe, to inspire new generations of Newtons.

Grantham may have its challenges, but this is an amazing unique selling point.

This year also marks the 1,300th anniversary of the death of the patron of St Wulfram’s in Grantham and I know that Fr Stuart Cradduck has plans to celebrate the anniversary with a memorial that unites people in faith and friendship across communities and regional and national borders.

But we have more than a rich heritage in Grantham, we also have huge potential for sustainable growth and regeneration. In the coming weeks, the council will be progressing its bids for substantial Government funding to invest in our town.

There is a much to celebrate in 2020, and much to do. Appointing the right permanent chief executive was top of my agenda for my first 100 days, it is a significant step towards maximising opportunities to put Grantham firmly on the map.

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