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Darlington Council political leaders look ahead to 2014
With 2014 almost upon us, Vicki Henderson asked the leaders of the three political groups at Darlington Borough Council for their thoughts on what lies ahead for the town this coming year.
Councillor Bill Dixon, leader of the Labour group "My first hope for 2014 is that every resident has a happy and prosperous new year. "We all face another tough year, but if we work together we can keep Darlington a place where people are proud to live, work and raise their families. "My second hope for 2014 is that residents and traders will understand and be patient about the major disruption in our town centre during the building on the new office complex, multi -screen cinema/hotel and the much needed multi-storey car park. "These three developments will ensure Darlington's town centre has future as a vibrant place to shop and socialise, but we need to understand it will take time and inconvenience."
Councillor Heather Scott, leader of the Conservative group "I hope that we can all take responsibility for our actions and support other people who are less fortunate, whether that is because of illness, loneliness or other difficulties.
"Darlington has an amazing reputation for volunteering but there are opportunities for more people both young and old to become involved.
"We are all still feeling the problems caused by the recession but confidence is returning and jobs are being created.
I welcome the investments already confirmed, the Cinema complex, DFE Central Park, Lingfield Point and various housing plans but we must encourage more companies to come to Darlington to provide much needed employment particularly for young people.
"The education results for our primary schools is fantastic, but we are still not solving the problem of lack of skills for school leavers appropriate for our local employers.
"This must be a priority for 2014 so we can be the first choice of companies coming to the region."
Councillor Anne-Marie Curry, Liberal Democrat group leader "Liberal Democrats nationally and locally are working hard to build a stronger economy in a fairer society. In order to promote this for the benefit of Darlington in 2013 we would like to see more communities coming together to support each other and more new initiatives started to support the people who are struggling at this time.
"The Lib Dems would like to see more people looking out for each other and other people in their community.
"We would like to see more small and medium size businesses and traders in Darlington. This would see more empty shops being filled with innovative and unique business making Darlington the best place to visit. "Darlington's place in history with its rich railway heritage playing a full part in growth plans and the secure knowledge the museum will be the centre point for this economic growth.
"More volunteers and groups like Snow Patrol helping with gritting to clearing snow and ice, the Good Neighbour scheme and community action groups should continue to be created and grow as this will build stronger communities."
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