Opinion | The community will be at the heart of Honiton Town Council's new beginning

By Will Goddard

19th Jan 2022 | Opinion

L: Jake Bonetta, Town and District Councillor for Honiton St. Michael's (Tyler Bonetta). R: Honiton Town Council saw six resignations in one evening on Monday 10 January (Honiton Town Council)
L: Jake Bonetta, Town and District Councillor for Honiton St. Michael's (Tyler Bonetta). R: Honiton Town Council saw six resignations in one evening on Monday 10 January (Honiton Town Council)

At last week's Honiton Town Council meeting, following a vote on the council budget for the new year, six serving councillors stood up and abruptly left the meeting. It was then made apparent, following the meeting, that these councillors had tendered their immediate resignation from the town council. The council is now left with 11 members, of whom 10 joined the council within the last eight months.

This marks an important junction in the history of the council – [with new leadership] in important roles such as the chair and vice chair of the council [...]. Now is also the time for councillors to focus on the wants of the town, and all projects – old and new – that need completing.

As the chair of the strategy committee, and one of the councillors looking into a new community strategy for the council, I was excited to see an article last week on Nub News which outlined some suggestions for the town. The community strategy will form the outline for future work of the council over the coming few years, and will mark a significant new step towards a transparent, open and revived town council.

It is clear from the responses to the article that the town is moving in the right direction, and that there are some brilliant ideas that can be worked on, or are already in progress. One example of this is the fantastic CUB building, next to the community college, which now houses a new and revitalised youth club for the town.

There are also new and exciting projects at East Devon District Council which will see a revival of the town's green spaces, and I will personally work hard in conjunction with the "Wild Honiton" project which is set to transform our open space for the better.

This, I hope, will include the corner of New Street and the High Street, bringing much-needed regeneration to our town centre. I am also pleased to say that I have been taking part in consultations with schoolchildren across Honiton, talking about planned upgrades for three parks across the town equaling an investment of over £150,000 just this year on Honiton's play areas. There is a lot of work to do, and a lot of brilliant plans for the year ahead. The Queen's Jubilee weekend in June will see the town council bringing together groups from across the town, organising celebrations throughout the town on the 4-day bank holiday. I will also be working closely with my colleagues at East Devon District Council to see what can be done to make sure more recycling and litter bins can be installed across Honiton. Obviously, these are just the plans and projects that I am involved in, and the change in leadership at the town council will allow many other projects like these from other people to also happen across Honiton. I would encourage anyone with any ideas for projects to get involved in the community strategy process once this goes public later this year, to help us help you. In the meantime, let us look forward from this marker in the town's history with hope and unity, for this is indeed the beginning of a new era on the town council.

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