A NEW era for Balsall Parish Council has been promised as Coun Ian Hedley takes over as chairman.
Coun Hedley, a Lib Dem and also a boroyugh councillor for Shirley East, was elected as chairman on a meeting at Balsall Parish Council on Monday, taking the reigns from Judy Lea.
He says he is determined to create a ‘‘new era’’ for the parish which had become plagued by in-fighting between councillors and hit with controversy regarding the use of Chadwick End Village Hall over the last few years.
“I’ve come in determined,” said the trained mediator, from Balsall Common. They needed some new blood without the baggage to move forward.
“We’re going to be much more open and communicate better with residents. We’ll be putting all our energy into serving residents not having issues with each other.
“We just want to put all those old problems behind us and start afresh. We have a lot to do, Rome wasn’t built in a day, but there’s a definite air of people wanting to move forward.”
One of the first points of call is to patch up relations with neighbouring Berkswell parish.
“I really hope it will be a new era. I have pledged to work closer with Berkswell and plan to have a joint meeting soon. I hope we can repair some of the relationships and work more closely with residents.”
Graham Lock, new chair of Berkswell Parish, said he was “optimistic” that the neighbouring councils would have a better relationship in future.
“We welcome a new era of willingness to co-operate. In this joint meeting we will determine on which issues we can work on collectively.
“There were a lot of passions that came to the fore previously that we need to galvanise to positive effect.”
He added that the unpopular proposal to merge the two parishes was now “drifting away”.
“I don’t want to get into any personal issues about previous councillors or chairs but I think the governance review has helped highlight some of the differences between Balsall and Berkswell and perhaps the confusion around the identity of Balsall Common.”