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A Guide to Chairmanship
Arun M Chandran
Arun M Chandran

My Record in public office:

 

I served on Great Aycliffe Town Council from 1983 to 1996. I was Chairman of Environment, Recreation, Parks, Finance (many  years) and Mayor in 1991. My attendance record was second to none. In those days Town Councillors did not get paid an allowance. 

 

These are just some of my achievements when I was last on the Council:

 

As Secretary of the then West Branch of the Labour Party I introduced and established regular monthly ward surgeries, and Newsletters. 

 

I was a Governor of Woodham Burn Junior & infant School 1983-1993

 

I abolished the previous Aycliffe First administration’s proposal to build a civic hall that would have cost in excess of 500, 000 plus ongoing running costs.    Min. 150 FC 18.1.1984

 

 I proposed that we replace vandalised and damaged Glass and metal bus shelters with Brick Built ones, to save costs on repairs and vandalism     Min. 89 Env 3.4.1984

 

I pushed through the Golf Driving Range to bring money in to the Council’s coffers and subsidise other facilities and services.   Min. 177 FC 22.2.1984

 

In Sept 1984 I proposed the setting up of the Great Aycliffe Show Sub Committee, I also proposed the OAP bus trips to replace the Holidays previously provided in order to cater for all pensioners in Great Aycliffe instead of just a few lucky ones.

 

On 20.12.1984 I introduced Standing Order 66 which fully incorporated the Freedom of Information Act  and Access to meetings that was then being talked about,  we were the first in the Country to open our doors and be fully transparent and accountable the Newton News and Northern Echo wrote accolades about it in their editorials.

 

I pushed through expansion and improvement of the Council Offices 99,744.50 and re roofing the Sports Complex 81, 889.22     Min 148 FC 13.3.1985.

 

I proposed the purchase of the Council Offices at School Aycliffe lane , outright  with cash to save on rent in the long term  the purchase paid for itself in 10 years     Min. 126 FC 29.10.1986

 

I proposed the abolition of the Entertainments Allowance, no more alcohol served after Council meetings at the  Annual General Meeting & Christmas for Councillors and their cronies.    Min 14 FC 20.5.1986

 

I stopped the Town Twinning arrangements with Perstorp in Sweden, making them dormant  because they were only for councillors  Min .85 FC  29.10.1986.

 

In March 1987 I was elected the youngest President of the Bishop Auckland Constituency Labour Party Age 28

and took on the Militant Tendency and beat them by open constitutional means. Making the Constituency safe for our MP Derek Foster.

 

In 1987 I was approached by the Chairman of the Woodham Community Association because the Development Corporation was going to give the Community Centre’s Freehold to the Church attached to it. I stopped that from happening, and got the Community Association it’s Freehold, and made the Corporation build a new Kitchen facility so that it was completely separate from the church.

 

I proposed as Council Policy that all play areas should have safety surfaces   Min 35 Parks 2.9.1987 the programme commenced 14.2.1988.

 

I made sure that various articles handed over by the Aycliffe Development Corporation such as the ceremonial Silver Spade & Casket, Old Photos and so forth were properly presented and displayed for the public to see

Min 101. FC 20.4.1988

 

In August 1988 I set up the first Crime Prevention Panel in Newton Aycliffe.

 

I set up the position of Leader & Deputy Leader on the Council under Standing Order 71 and free use of Council Chamber for Controlling and opposition groups on the Council SO 72. FC 17.5.1989.

 

I was thanked officially by the Councils Solicitors Oswald Hicks & Collier for my Dossier which got the Defamation case against Cllr Tony Moore by the Woodham Golf & Country Club dismissed.   Min 94 FC 30.1.1991 

 

I proposed the Tree Preservation Order on the North Agnew Plantation, and got the Public Rights of Way protection for the Bridle path running through it, and had it put on the Definitive rights of way map   Min 72 FC 23.9.92

 

In 1993 Min 31 Parks  it was my proposal to line the Golf Course, and sports complex with Boulders from Aycliffe Quarry to protect them from a spate of stolen cars being driven on the grounds and set alight.

 

I persuaded the Town Council to take over the deed of transfer for the Aycliffe Nature Park (working with Syd Howarth of the Rotary Club) , Min 65 Env 17.1.1989 (adopted 12.9.1989)

 

I saved 106 Trees from being unnecessarily cut down I attended a Tree Course at Houghall Agricultural College for a week with Cllr Eric White and the Town Clerk, only 17 trees were felled in the end   Min 50 Parks 28.11.1990

 

As Mayor in 1991 I led the fight to save the Cubby after it was badly damaged by a fire, getting it rebuilt on its existing site as a valuable public amenity.

 

I prevented the Blue Bridge from being demolished. When small pieces of concrete were falling of the underside of the bridge, Min 21b 16.2.1992 and when a report was produced that suggested it would cost 27,500 just to demolish(30.8.1992) Myself with assistance from Cllr Eric White got the Sedgefield District Council to take the Bridge back under the transfer of assets package Min 19 Env 6.7.1993 they repaired the Bridge and hey presto it is there for a hundred years saved from demolition for posterity.

 

In 1992 I proposed joining up all public rights of way in Great Aycliffe,  the birth of the Great Aycliffe Way

Min 44 Env 13.10.1992

 

I persuaded the Council to put 10, 000 a year over 3 years which resulted in the West Park Lakes being properly concreted in four phases starting 29.3.1992 finished 27.6.1993  Parks 7.7.1993  Top Lake 380 linear metres and bottom lake 425 giving a total of 805 metres of concreting in work done by Durham County Council in house workforce.

 

Together with support from Cllr Eric White,  I made British Rail rebuild Codling Bridge (a bridle path right of way) after they demolished the previous stone bridge, it cost them 55, 000. Min  40 & 45 Env 13.10.1992

 

In 1993 I led the successful fight with the Boundary Commission not to split Newton Aycliffe up between two Parliamentary Constituencies.

 

I led the fight which defeated a planning appeal to develop Water Tower Field School Aycliffe for Housing Min 56 FC 27.7.1993

 

As long standing Chairman of the Finance and General Purposes Committee I introduced depreciation into our accounting and annual Budget reconciliation. When I came off the Council we had over million cash reserve. Despite having the lowest increases in rates of any nearby local authority.

 

When it became clear I was going to move away from the area I gave six months notice to the Council 3 months later resigned as Chairman of Finance, and 3 months after that from the Council on Wednesday 24th January 1996 at 10.00pm Min 91b FC Showing how councillors should step down, giving the Labour Party plenty of time and opposition to select a replacement. As it happens there was no opposition contested by election and Labour co opted someone, the opposition knew better than to waste time and money in solid labour West Ward.

 

When I was asked to appear and provide evidence to an appeal hearing on Great Aycliffe Town Council an appeal by the then disgraced and sacked former Town Clerk I was greeted by the Chairman of the Appeal Panel Cllr John D Clare  “ Cllr Chandran it is so nice to meet the legend in person”,  though I had ceased being a councillor.

 

When I was in Newton Aycliffe Town Centre in 1998 I was dragged over with my young daughter to meet the then Prime Minister Tony Blair on his walkabout. I was introduced to Tony Blair  as

 “ this is Arun Chandran the man who made it all possible for Labour on the Town Council”

 

I mention these points not to be big headed,  but to illustrate that others had a high regard for my ability, integrity and proven record of public service that was second to none

Newton Aycliffe

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Rates Slashed 1983

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Open Government 1984

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   Chandran, Moore and the Woodham Golf and Country Club 1991

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Newton Aycliffe
Northern Area Study Plan

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North Agnew Woodland
Public Rights

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NORTH AGNEW WOODLAND
      ECHO 11.05.1992

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Tree Preservation Order 1992
North Agnew Plantation

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Disciplinary Action 1994

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Town Clerk sacked 1996

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Town Clerk appeals
sacking 1996

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I made Council  grant
 access to public 22nd April 2009

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Woodham Community
Association 1987

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Woodham Community
Association 1987

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President 1987

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Crime Prevention Panel 1988
 
 

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Newton Aycliffe
Northern Area Study MAP

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New Mayor 1991

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The Cubby 1991

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The battle of
 Codling Bridge 1994

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Spade found in 2009
after 13 years

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