Shailesh Vara MP recently met with board members of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Association of Local Councils (CAPALC) to discuss various local and national issues.
As well as Mr Vara, others attending the meeting from CAPALC were Henry Clark (Chairman/ Director), Penny Bryant (CEO), Colin Saunderson (Non-Executive Director), Michael Tew (Director), and Denis Batty; all current parish councillors in Mr Vara’s constituency of North West Cambridgeshire.
The virtual meeting discussed a number of issues concerning the working of town and parish councils and how improvements can be made to increase their effectiveness.
Mr Vara thanked everyone for the great work they did during the pandemic, working with their local communities and other local councils, and for all the work they continue to do.
Also discussed was the effectiveness of hybrid and remote council meetings. Mr Vara informed the meeting that there has been a consultation on the matter and a decision on the outcome is awaited.
Other issues discussed included the lack of public transport, especially in the rural areas, and the need for closer cooperation with Huntingdonshire District Council, Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council.
Following the meeting, Mr Vara said:
“I was very pleased to catch up with representatives from local parish councils and discuss matters which have a daily impact on people’s lives.
“Parish councils play a critical role in our communities, and it is necessary that they have the support to carry out their vital work.
“I want to especially thank every councillor in the area for all the work they did supporting their local community during the last two years and for all they continue to do, serving and helping to make life better for all concerned.”
Mr Clark added:
“We requested a meeting with Shailesh to discuss how town and parish councils could work better. We were pleased when Shailesh agreed to give us an hour of his valuable time.
“We had a very positive discussion, including unitary authorities in Cambridgeshire, what more local councils could do for their residents, the climate emergency, remote meetings and public transport.
“Shailesh offered to take up various points with the relevant people at HDC and Westminster. At the end CAPALC thought we had had a very useful discussion and we would like to make it an annual event.”
Photo: Colin Saunderson, Penny Bryant, Shailesh Vara MP, Henry Clark, Michael Tew, Denis Batty.