Did you know that it’s been 25 years since Berkshire County Council was disbanded and its powers were redistributed to 6 new unitary authorities? This included the handover of social services, education, roads and infrastructure.
Bracknell Forest was 1 of the 6 new unitary authorities formed in 1998. This month we are celebrating all that has been achieved since Bracknell Forest Council came into existence.
One of the most powerful advantages is that by bringing social services to the very local council, our staff are much more aware of local issues and can respond to local needs.
For most of these 25 years, all the local schools were maintained by Bracknell Forest Council. Now, all but one of our secondary schools and many of our primary schools, have become academies. All our schools are good schools, and our young people have and are being well served.
We all celebrate what has been achieved with our town centre and shopping area during recent years. Some of us will recall raising money in the Tea House, shopping in Woolworths, Iceland and Bentalls, but those days we recall with fondness are a world away from the social and cultural heart we now have. When the town centre was being redeveloped, it was surprising to realise how steep it was from the police station down to Waitrose. The new town centre is now a destination for residents and visitors from towns far and wide.
Very few people lived in the town centre 25 years ago, and this has certainly changed now. The town is a buzz with activity until late in the evening.
I have lived here for over 50 years and have witnessed all these changes.
I am privileged to now lead this council and commit to listening to you, the residents, to help make the changes in the future.
The budget from the government to this council has reduced by £100 million during these 25 years, which has brought financial challenges. Difficult decisions will need to be made, but you will be consulted and informed as to the reasons and the consequences. Rest assured we will be doing all we can to provide the best services possible to all our residents.
Cllr Mary Temperton
Leader of Bracknell Forest Council