Glen Sanderson is a member of Peter Jackson's cabinet at County Hall, with responsibility for the Environment and Local Services. His department is responsible for many of the essential services people recognise as the 'front line' of council services. This was also one of the areas most neglected by the previous Labour administration. Here, Glen talks about the challenges he has faced while getting the department back on track:
'One of our key manifesto pledges during the election was to take the upkeep of our roads seriously after years of neglect by Labour. Already, residents across the county are reporting a vast improvement. Bringing the whole county's roads up to a better standard will be a big job but we will treat our responsibilities seriously.
Two immediate actions were agreed by our new administration in the first week - to improve weed spraying in our towns and villages and to cut roadside grass verges much more quickly. At the start of the tourist season, we had successfully cut 96% of the routes, up from 16% at the same time last year.
Complaints about weed spraying are half those of last year but we want to improve things even more next year.
We need to get on top of potholes and we have begun by finding £0.5 million of new money which will be allocated to local councillors and Local Area Councils via our new pilot scheme called the Local Pothole Fund. The aim is to fix recurring potholes with new longlasting repairs.
Most of our parks have recently been awarded Green Flag status and we are ensuring we help in all parts of the county by applying for and achieving Heritage Lottery funding to radically improve Hirst park in Ashington.
We are aiming to apply for Heritage Lottery funding to renovate the very historically important Union Chain Bridge that crosses the Tweed just south of Berwick. We are working on this cross border project with Scottish Borders Council.'