'We think the district is changing': New leader of North East Derbyshire District Council talks A61, fracking, jobs and bus cuts

New leader of North East Derbyshire District Council, Councillor Martin Thacker.
New leader of North East Derbyshire District Council, Councillor Martin Thacker.

In the second part of our interview with the new leader of North East Derbyshire District Council, Councillor Martin Thacker, talks more about the issues concerning you.

The Conservatives took control of the council for the first time ever in the local elections last month.

New leader of North East Derbyshire District Council, Councillor Martin Thacker.

New leader of North East Derbyshire District Council, Councillor Martin Thacker.

This is what Coun Thacker said in the first part of our interview
This week he talks about the A61 Derby Road, fracking, jobs, bus cuts and his promise to the people of the district...

A61

"The A61 corridor needs a range of organisations and authorities to come together because you can't just look at Derby Road as 'your bit of it' and 'your section'. We have to talk to Chesterfield Borough Council, we have to talk to Derbyshire County Council because highways have to work with us and so does the other council next door because it is one long corridor and if we do not have a consistent and joined-up approach to it then whatever we do, whether we put a roundabout on here or do some traffic lights there, it will have no effect as all it will be will that cars will just go through that bit and be bottle-necked further down the line so I think there has to be joint working and a proper conversation. And we also have to talk to government. We've had Chris Grayling come up as Secretary of State for Transport but again he is saying 'what do you want us to do'. Well if we knew that straight away we would be doing it. We also need government advisers and people with knowledge about these things and who have seen things work well elsewhere to tell us about some ideas, we can't just carry on as having Derby Road as it is with more traffic on it every day and it becoming more of a difficulty we have to think of something new and different."

Fracking

"I am totally opposed to it and we support the Marsh Lane residents in their battle to stop any fracking. To me it is not a tried and tested method of actually producing energy. I know you might say it is elsewhere in America and so on but that is totally different - that is vast tracks of land. We are here in a place where we are not far from communities and where people live. We have already heard about some problems as a result of fracking whether it is mini earthquakes and so on and I think until everything really is beyond all doubt we can't put people's lives at risk, we can't put people's ways of living and the health of their communities and damaging communities at risk, I am just totally opposed to it."

Jobs

"That is where the business strategy has to come in. We have already started developing one. We had papers prepared before we took office because we believe it could happen. I've had a conversation with someone from Sheffield Hallam University and talked about some ideas to boost economy. We are already talking to other organisations - I have got a meeting coming up with D2N2 to talk about investment in this area, income generation, investment strategy as well linked to tourism so it is early days but we have already got lots of ideas to take forward."

Bus cuts

"I understand that Stagecoach are a business and at the end of day they have to make a profit because that is what their shareholders expect of them but I think they need to consult local people in a more meaningful way. I think to say that they are going to do something and then just announce it and pretend they are going to take on people's views when we know what they are going to do is going to be implemented very quickly is not a helpful way of running a business. That's how they choose to do it but as a local person representing local people, knowing that quite a few people in my ward are vulnerable, for them to say 'well everyone in Holymoorside can afford a car' that is not a good way of actually opening a conversation with people and that's actually not understanding the ward that I represent because not everyone in Holymoorside has a car and there are a lot of elderly people who are concerned about the future, they are worried about being cut off from local amenities and I think we are in danger of actually making it an isolated community and I am actually very concerned about it."

My message

"First of all I want to say thank you to the people of north east Derbyshire for their support and backing a Conservative administration going forward. For us to have the mandate that we have to make a change is actually something we are very proud of and we are not going to let the people of north east Derbyshire down. We will be delivering on the manifesto that we set out and we will be keeping our promises.

"We are hoping the people of north east Derbyshire will actually see we are making a positive start and want more as we go forward and hope that this isn't just one term and that we can go beyond this and continue to deliver with a long-term for north east Derbyshire which includes a range of innovative projects which will be unveiling very soon which I think people will find very exciting but what we don't want to be doing is 'we've done a few quick wins and that's that'. I believe that if we continue in the way that we have already started that north east Derbyshire residents will want to keep supporting us. We think the district is changing."