Message from GSGP Coordinator, Denise Michell:
“A video featuring Deputy Leader Amelia Womack explaining to members and activists why it is so important to get out canvassing in the run up to local elections. We here in Glastonbury and Street do not have any elections coming up at this time, but I believe this is a useful piece of kit to have in our tool box!”
On Tuesday, 9th May 2017, Cllr. Emma George became the 318th – and third successive Green – Mayor of Glastonbury!
Out-going Mayor, Cllr. Jon Cousins, proposed his Deputy for the position as the final motion of his Mayoralty, telling the assembled Councillors and members of the public: “It is with great pleasure that I propose Cllr Emma George for election to the role of Mayor of Glastonbury. I feel that the election of the current Deputy Mayor to the highest office is something that is both seemly and worthy.”
“Seemly because as Deputy Emma has been a great support to me in my year of office. Joining me on many Civic Occasions, and representing Glaston admirably and capably when I could not.”
“Worthy because time and again she has show real leadership and professionalism with regard to the Council’s business.”
“May I remind Councillors of how she negotiated favourably with Weedingtech; has worked diligently on helping to develop the Youth Council; has worked closely with the Police and One Team to help address anti-social behaviour in the town; has chaired with great skill the Town Centre Working Group, and supported the various projects and campaigns that have evolved from this forum.”
“Her contribution to the Council’s Staffing Committee and as Chair of the Communications Committee reflecting the expertise and experience in these related industries.”
“Finally, I would like to say that the role of Mayor demands that we rise above the petty divisions of politics to represent the whole community; to truly encapsulate the role of First Citizen.”
“This is something that Emma has fully achieved in her capacity as Deputy Mayor. And so, without further ado – I recommend that this Council elects Cllr Emma George as the 318th Mayor of Glastonbury.”
Emma’s nomination was seconded by Conservative Councillor Steve Henderson. There were no other nominations, and Emma was elected Mayor by a unanimous vote.
In her acceptance speech, she said: “I will make sure to do my best to represent you all. Jon is a hard act to follow. He has been an absolute pleasure to work with.”
“I know I am heading into this year with great people around me.”
A first for Glastonbury!
Emma’s first act as Mayor was to preside over the election of Liberal Democrats Councillor Denise Abbot as Deputy Mayor; a first for Glastonbury – as the positions of Mayor and Deputy Mayor have never been held by two women during one Mayoralty before!
As the third Green Mayor of Glastonbury, Emma follows Cllrs. Jon Cousins (2016-17) and Denise Michell (2015-16); a major achievement for the Green Party’s members and supporters in the South West.
When first elected in 2011, Glastonbury’s ‘Green Four’ championed the creation of a new Town Council advisory committee dedicated to developing an integrated tourism and pilgrimage strategy to promote Glastonbury as cultural and spiritual centre of worldwide significance importance in the 21st Century.
As a result, ‘Promoting Glastonbury’ was convened as a forum for dialogue between councillors and the various stakeholders including our visitor attractions, independent shops and high street traders, tour guides, and the Tourist Information and Pilgrim Reception Centres.
A key development from Promoting Glastonbury was the town’s involvement with the EU’s Enterprise and Industry Directorate General’s new pan-European spiritual and cultural tourism route based on the legend of the Holy Grail: The Grail Project.
Following the election in 2015, a stronger Green representation on the council reinvigorated the Promoting Glastonbury into a fully-fledged committee of Glastonbury Town Council, and reviewed its aims, objectives, and terms of reference.
As part of this review, a non-councillor member of the committee – Paul Lund – was appointed to the role of Deputy Chair; an unheard of departure from convention; demonstrating the Green’s commitment to their election manifesto to “foster strong participatory democracy”, within the council.
Wishing to increase non-councillor involvement, Cllr Jon Cousins researched the potential for unelected members of a committee to vote; discovering that – by virtue of the obscure Article 3 of the Parish and Community Councils (Committees) Regulations 1990* – non-councillor members of committees do have voting rights in respect of any function under s.144 of the 1972 Act relating to “the promotion of tourism”!
On Monday 23rd May 2016, history was made in Glastonbury’s Council Chamber when the first non-councillor Chair of a committee – Morgana West – was elected! Non-councillor Paul Lund was duly re-elected as Deputy Chair… This was followed by the first ever non-councillor proposal of a resolution; seconded by another non-councillor, and voted on by all the members of the Promoting Glastonbury Committee – elected and non-councillor members together!
* Section 102(3) of the Local Government Act 1972 provides that a local council can appoint persons who are not its members to committees and sub-committees (including joint committees and sub-committees). By virtue of s.13 of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989, non-councillor members of committees and sub committees do not have voting rights except in respect of certain council functions. By virtue of Article 3 of the Parish and Community Councils (Committees) Regulations 1990 (SI 1990/2476), non-councillor members of committees have voting rights in respect of any function under s.144 of the 1972 Act relating to the promotion of tourism.
On 23 June, the UK goes to the polls to make a big decision: whether or not to remain a member of the European Union.
Greens believe that we must work together to address our greatest challenges, such as limiting climate change, stopping international tax avoidance and securing our future peace and security. It is essential that we make the case for the environment in this referendum campaign – as the establishment parties will not make it, because they are in hock to their corporate and wealthy individual funders.
We need your help so that the Green Party can make the responsible case for the UK remaining a constructive part of a Greener Europe, and to help us elect more great Green Councillors across the South West, like those featured in this short film.
Please donate what you can. here:
Any surplus funds raised and not used for the Greener In referendum campaign will be split equally between the South West’s 2019 European Parliamentary election campaign fund and Green Party South West’s day-to-day budget for supporting Green Party activity in the South West.
The candidates have been announced for the Glastonbury St. Benedict’s ward by-election, which will take place on Thursday, 5th May 2016.
Glastonbury Green Party have selected Rik Cook as their candidate for the seat, which fell vacant earlier this year after Green Councillor Paul Sander-Jackson was forced to resign due to ill health.
Rik is a local businessman who has lived in the St. Benedict’s ward for 25 years. He is a single father, living with his daughter Hazel and their dog Ziggy.
For more than 20 years Rik worked in the Licensed trade in Glastonbury; first at The Market House and then at Tor Leisure, and has a great deal of experience supporting community ventures and dealing with Glastonbury Town Council on planning and licensing applications.
In 2010 he set up his own successful small business as a specialist painter and decorator, using eco-friendly paints and plasters to restore and refurbish traditional properties.
Rik helped establish a number of ongoing community run events, including the Riders in the Sky Annual Ride Out, the Medieval Fayre, and the Glastonbury Ultimate Frisbee Tournament. He also used sponsorship and promotion to build positive relationships with the town’s more traditional local clubs and associations such as Sea, Air, and Army Cadets, Skittles, Pool, Darts Leagues, local photography, Chess clubs, as well as local Rugby and Football clubs, and pub cricket leagues.
Interviewed recently, Rik said, “I know the issues that concern St. Benedict’s residents, and understand the task we face as a community. These are difficult times and we’re facing many challenges, but I believe these can be overcome if we work together. I would be honoured to continue working for the community, as your representative on Glastonbury Town Council.”
Natalie Bennett’s visit to Glastonbury on 26th January, saw the Green Party leader meeting with members of the Last Bank Standing Campaign; listening to residents on Chilkwell Street and Cottle Close – to learn more about ‘Lighten the Load A361’; she also found time to meet some of Glastonbury’s Green Town Councillors, and to visit West Mendip Green Party members and supporters with Paul Lund – the Green Party Candidate in the Glastonbury St. Mary’s By-election (on 11th February).
At Glastonbury Town Hall, Natalie was delighted to meet with Glastonbury’s Green Mayor, Cllr Denise Michell, and Green Deputy Mayor, Cllr Jon Cousins in the historic Council Chamber.
With the Greens holding minority-control of the Council, Natalie was very interested in the potential of Paul Lund’s election as an eighth Green Councillor (which would give the Greens a working majority), and she talked with Paul about the work he currently does as Deputy Chair of the Council’s Promoting Glastonbury Committee (Paul is the first non-councillor to hold such a position in the Council).
Natalie was also keen to hear about Paul’s pioneering work as the author of the town’s ‘Charter for the Environment’, which was adopted in 2012.
In the afternoon Natalie and Paul visited Green Party members and supporters on the Redlands Estate, listening to their concerns and thoughts about the future of Glastonbury – the A361 petition, the Green’s success at banning the use of the toxic herbicide glyphosate; protecting the town’s green spaces, the renewing of Glastonbury’s Fairtrade Town status, the new Green-led Neighbourhood Plan, and – of course – the loss of the banks.
Reflecting on her visit, Natalie said that the threatened closure of the town’s last two banks gave “One more example of our financial sector failing to meet the needs of communities; threatening businesses through lack of access to cash and lost custom.”
To support the Last Bank Standing Campaign, please click HERE.