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New council chief faces up to cuts but is looking to future

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New Amber Valley Borough Council leader Paul Jones is settling into his top job and knows he has a tough task ahead as the authority grapples with spending cuts.

But he also has plans for 
economic growth for the 
borough, including an ambitious plan to extend the 
Nottingham tram system into Amber Valley.

This week Cllr Jones spoke in detail about the future for the borough under Labour rule after his party wrestled control of the council from the Tories after 14 years.

Cllr Jones is the only council leader to have been in post in two different centuries, and two different millennia.

He was previously leader in 1999 when the council was last Labour led.

His party has a slim 
majority of just two seats after the local elections in May.

He said: “It has been a long time coming. I am excited, 
exhilarated, and also 
apprehensive to take on the 
challenges that lie ahead, but I am more than ready.”

He has kick-started his term in office by proposing 
several ways for the 
council to review budgets and 
streamline spending, after the announcement of severe council budget cuts, which are affecting all local authorities.

And it comes as Derbyshire 
County Council, also now 
Labour run, is slashing its budget by £157 million as it faces ‘unrelenting’ 
government cuts to its funding due to the recession.

Cllr Jones, who as well as being leader of the 
council represents the 
Heanor ward, and is also a county 
councillor for the Greater Heanor area, which includes 
Aldercar and Langley Mill.

The leader is set to carry out an independent review of borough council spending in September to evaluate the 
structure and effectiveness of the 
current system.

He said: “I aim to change the priorities of the council and get them thinking 
outside of the box, in order for 
Derbyshire to deal with the cuts. The income stream is drying up and we need to look at different ways of 
approaching things.

The Labour group is looking to increase 
economic regeneration, including 
transportation, by working with neighbouring 
authorities.

“Economic growth is important, and I believe the most proactive way of 
tackling this is by discussing the sharing of services with areas of mutual development,” said Cllr Jones.

“We have aspirations to extend the tram system from Broxtowe, Nottingham, 
into our neck of the woods. This would greatly improve 
transportation links.”

Cllr Jones is also keen to cut down youth 
unemployment.

He said: “I have been in talks with businesses at 
Heanor Gate Industrial Estate, and local colleges regarding setting up apprenticeships for school children. Lets get them 
into the workplace and doing something they are passionate about.”

He also stressed one of his priorities would be to tackle 
regeneration in towns such as Heanor.

“Heanor is a great place but it needs work. It used to be a market town, but 
after closures throughout the 
recession it needs to be 
injected with a new lease of life.

“We need to increase 
footfall and attract people to the town rather than just pass through it on their way to a city centre.

The councillor who is 
married with two sons, 
added: “I am born and bred in 
Heanor, and am committed to trying to improve the town by 
working with local traders and 
businesses. I welcome any suggestions on how else this could be done in Heanor and other local towns.”

Get in touch and give us your views on how to 
regenerate Heanor at 
news@rhnews.co.uk.

 

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