Kyrle Probus Club
   of Ross-on-Wye


‘FROM Mayor to Minor.’ - 15th August 2013

‘FROM Mayor to Minor’ was the subject of a thoroughly entertaining talk given by Kyrle Probus member John Edwards at the club’s August meeting.
Ar journalist on the Financial Times in London and left wing by political inclination, John described how he joined the Liberal Democrats after moving to Ross on retiring rom the FT. With no Labout Party in Ross, he went along to a meeting of the local Lib-Dems, where it was decided that they should put up candidates for election to Ross Town Council.
He stood as a candidate and was elected..John said many people felt that local councils should be independent, but he felt that the party system worked. A council of wholly Independent members could end up failing to agreei on anything. The Lib-Dems ended up with seven councillors out of 12.
As the majority party, they got to choose the mayor and he became mayor of Ross. John explained that the mayor’s role was mainly ceremonial as well as supporting volunteers and raising many for charity. During his year of office he raised funds for the Charles Renton cancer unit at Hereford County Hospital.
He also had a programme of ideas he wanted to set up for the town. There were a lot of empty shops in Ross at the time and he suuported the setting up of ART – Association of Ross Traders. The council together with ART improved the Christmas lights in the town centre in his mayoral  year, while he also got yhe Sports Centre at Wilton going.
He helped set up the Screen at the Pheonix cinema during his year of office and also put his weight behind saving the Tudorville Community Centre. Despite what people might think, local councillors do put a lot of effort into their work, attending at least two or three meetings a week, he said.
As chairman of the town council finance committee, he said they had an ongoing battle with Herefordshire county council on the best way to spend the money locally. Herefordshire had a budget spend of some £150million a year and was facing  financial difficulties, partly due to a cut in the grent received from central government. The town council spent about £200,000 annually.
He said one change he would like to see would be the town council taking over control of parking
In the town from the county council.

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