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Quitting to leave space for younger politicians

A councillor of more than 30 years has announced his retirement from public life out of concern he could become a “political bed-blocker”.

Kevin Jackson, (70), who has served Biddulph since 1991, said he wanted to make room for younger politicians to address the main issues in the town.

The retired engineer, originally from the North East, has spent 32 years on Biddulph Town Council, 28 years on the higher-tier Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, as well as a four-year stint on the main authority, Staffordshire County Council, which came to an end in 2017.

“I’ve done enough. The technology is moving at a faster pace than I am,” he joked this week.

“I didn’t want to become a political bed-blocker and we’ve got some really good young councillors coming through, so I’m more than happy for them to take the reins.”

Coun Jackson had initially planned to step down ahead of the last elections in 2019, but was persuaded to stay on for another four years. In his time in the council chamber, he served as mayor of Biddulph once.

“I only did it once because I always thought that anyone who does it more than once is hogging the limelight from someone else. It wasn’t something I wanted to do, but it dawned on me that if I did it in 1999, I’d be the first mayor of the new millennium,” said the Labour councillor.

He counts among his achievements the building of the town’s skate park near Knypersley Cricket Club.

Coun Jackson had concerns about the three-tier political structure in the Staffordshire Moorlands and worried that whereas once the district council would take the lead on many issues and the lower-tier town council would focus on smaller-scale problems, this was no longer the case.

He explained: “When I first went on the town council, I nearly packed it in after four years because I was sick of talking about dog s**t and litter. But now, the agendas are far more interesting and progressive than the agendas at the district council. There is very little going on there now.

“And there are great swathes of Moorlands House in Leek, where the district council is based, that are unused. The building is like the Mary Celeste.”
(Photo: Biddulph Town Council).

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