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We are all very lucky to live in Newmarket, whatever our adventure




Cllr Andy Drummond Newmarket mayor (2069648)
Cllr Andy Drummond Newmarket mayor (2069648)

On Tuesday at Newmarket Town Council's annual meeting, Cllr Andy Drummond's two-year tenure as town mayor will come to an end and he will pass the mayoral chain on to another councillor. Here he looks back on the highs and lows of his time in office.

At the end of her adventure in the Emerald City, Dorothy tapped the heels of her ruby slippers together and said: 'There's no place like home'.

That's exactly how I feel when I come back to Newmarket, whether I've been away for a day, a week, or a month.

We are all very lucky to live here, whatever our adventure, and we should not take it for granted. I certainly don't.

It's been an honour and a privilege to have been the Mayor of Newmarket for two consecutive terms and I would gladly do it for a third but I feel it's now time to hand over the reins.

The council is now a very different organisation to the one I joined two years ago. We have anew team, saving £100,000 a year in salaries and our grounds works and cemetery are now contracted out to West Suffolk, which means we retain more of theparish precept to spend on the town.

It's all running far better than I ever imagined.

We work synergistically with the Newmarket BID to deliver more than if we worked separately and this can be seen in events such as the Christmas lights switch-on and Winter Wonderland.

Cllrs Winter and Starkey, who oversee the community services committee, have high aspirations for the look of the town and I think they certainly achieve their aim. Our neighbour in most directions is Jockey Club Estates which tends their land to the highest possible standard and our goal is that the join remains undetectable.

My most proud moment will always be the visit by the Queen in November 2016 to open the National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Artat Palace House and to unveil the statue of her with a mare and foal.

My most proud moment will always be the visit by the Queen in November 2016 to open the National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Artat Palace House and to unveil the statue of her with a mare and foal.

This was a fantastic day for the town which we will all remember forever.

On statues, let's not forget the rearing stallion which is an iconic gateway that gives a sense that you are entering a place which is very special. It's been there since the Millennium and perhaps something we now all take for granted but it is utterly spectacular.

The plinth had become pretty grubby and the lights were no longer working but I have managed to get this looking as good as the day it was installed through my Forest Heath portfolio role.

Nearly two years ago the council voted to fund a police community support officer (PCSO) for Newmarket.

According to Tim Passmore, Suffolk's Police and Crime Commissioner, the role should be filled by the summer.

I am also delighted that Newmarket has a new joint Police and Fire Station I've certainly noticed a higher police visibility since it opened and that's what residents want - it makes them feel safe.

Since the decriminalisation of parking, nobody appears to respect double yellow lines. Back in 2013 Eric Pickles proposed that shoppers ought to be able to park on them for up to 15 minutes without getting a ticket with the purpose of reinvigorating the High Street economy. I remember thinking at the time that this was eminently sensible. However, the reality is that without enforcement, 15 minutes turns into an hour or even a day and actually becomes counterproductive.

The problem is so bad here in Newmarket that we made the national news. I can't believe I'm saying this but the solution appears to be to have a traffic warden! Maybe that's the first job for our PCSO?

I've been very frustrated that I haven't managed to solve the problem of the apparent homelessness on the High Street. Nobody in England should be homeless nobody should spend a second night on the street.

Not everything has gone to plan. I've been very frustrated that I haven't managed to solve the problem of the apparent homelessness on the High Street. Nobody in England should be homeless nobody should spend a second night on the street. But we all know that's not the case in Newmarket. I encourage the public with a social conscience to give to a homeless charity such as Wintercomfort rather than the individual.

As well as the physical space that we live in, like many other towns, Newmarket also has a virtual presence in cyberspace. There are several local interest social media forums, but in my opinion the best of these and the one that's now properly moderated is Mick Smith's Newmarket Area Neighbourhood Watch (UK) page on Facebook.

The others have been infiltrated by keyboard warriors and suffer from cyber harassment, defamation, disinformation, and cyberbullying which is totally unacceptable. They are poorly monitored, quickly lose focus and flame into off-topic rants about individuals often councillors or our MP.

The others have been infiltrated by keyboard warriors and suffer from cyber harassment, defamation, disinformation, and cyberbullying which is totally unacceptable. They are poorly monitored, quickly lose focus and flame into off-topic rants about individuals often councillors or our MP.

While county and district councillors receive an allowance, all town councillors volunteer their time for free; it's not a paid vocation, so it's particularly disappointing that they should be subjected to this type of mistreatment. The best place to air your views is at the town council there is a public participation slot at the start of all our meetings and we meet most Mondays. We also accept email or letters.

The council is well connected to all levels of government and we engage with all community groups.

We may not possess a specific power to help you, but we can always point you in the right directionour 18 councillors have a wealth of knowledge about the town and we are a good starting point in the resolution of any issue affecting residents or the town itself.

So, how's this for irony? Thirty-four years ago, on my stag night, I was tied to the clock tower and left there by my felonious friends. I was released by a patrolling police officer, a rather embarrassing moment in my life, luckily without criminal charge. Little did I know that figuratively speaking, this event foretold the future, and that a third of a century later I would become tied to it again as the custodian of said monument and it always amuses me every time I drive past. â