This is my last column for the Brighton & Hove Independent as leader of the city council before I hand over to Cllr Dan Yates on May 17.
It’s been an enormous privilege to lead the city over the past three years, and the Labour and Co-operative Group of councillors for the last five.
Despite the ongoing cuts of tens of millions of pounds in funding from the Conservative Government, and the escalating costs of social care, we’ve balanced the books, kept services running, improved resident satisfaction, upped our recycling rates and prevented compulsory redundancies.
We’ve broken the logjam on new projects in the city. Cranes are up at Circus Street, Preston Barracks, the seafront Shelter Hall; the King Alfred, and a new Churchill Square and replacement Brighton Centre are on the way, while work begins on restoring the Madeira Terraces this summer.
We’ve delivered more new council homes in one year than at any time in the last three decades, will soon begin on our joint venture to deliver a thousand affordable homes, and brought a new focus to the urgent task of helping people sleeping rough on our streets.
There is always more to do, things I wish I could have achieved. Some personal highlights will be the success of the crowdfunding campaign for the Terraces and of course the Freedom of the City for the Albion’s Chris Hughton and Tony Bloom.
I’ve done my best to be as open, honest and clear in my communication with residents, through this column, on radio and TV, and online. Whilst of course I’ve argued the case for my party, I hope I’ve spoken above and beyond partisan politics and put Brighton and Hove first. If you have been a regular reader of this column, thank you for reading. If I’ve done anything I hope it is to have inspired some of you to get involved in your city and your community, to campaign, take responsibility, and get involved whilst treating others with respect, whoever they are and whatever their beliefs.
Brighton and Hove is a special place and we are the temporary custodians of it; my task over the last three years has been one we all share, to take what we have inherited, care for it as best we can, and pass it on to future generations for them to enjoy and enhance in their own way.
Cllr Warren Morgan is the leader of Brighton and Hove City Council.