With the recent election of councillors to Fairfield Parish Council came the retirement of incumbent Chairman Chris Bidwell. Council colleagues and members of the wider community would like to join in expressing their huge thanks to the former Chairman, who was a founding member of Fairfield Parish Council (FPC) when it was set up in May 2013.
As a senior ex fire fighter, Chris was (and still is) always the go-to guy for any safety and risk assessment issues. When the position of Chairman of the council unexpectedly became vacant in January 2016 he was persuaded to pick up the role, which then plunged him into taking the lead on a number of difficult and challenging concerns.
The horrendous stink problem that blighted the summer of 2017 was to a large extent resolved by Chris’s persistence and tenacity, badgering and working with Anglian Water and Central Bedfordshire Council (CBC) and getting MP Alistair Burt involved.
The more or less continuous road works and blockages outside Fairfield last year tested everyone’s patience. Chris constantly chivvied CBC along to make sure the developers kept residents informed and to mitigate the seemingly unending disruptions. Without his constant pestering, things could well have been much worse. And, when the lights continually failed at night, Chris and other councillor colleagues went out to direct traffic and keep the community safe.
Other traffic issues addressed under his leadership include the introduction of the 20mph speed limit, the appointment of our Lollipop Lady, the double yellow lines by Tesco and the establishment of Speed Watch in Fairfield.
Chris’s leadership was called into question last year by a small group of residents who lodged formal complaints against five councillors and a further one against Chris personally, alleging that he had provided misleading information. Although Chris knew he had done nothing wrong, he was not allowed to publicly defend himself until the investigation was over, a situation which he found immensely frustrating. On investigation by CBC the complaints were dismissed as unfounded.
During his tenure, Chris always worked extremly hard to build and retain the safe environment and friendly, united community that Fairfield’s residents value so highly. Although he has now retired from the council, his successors know that they can call on him for his experience, advice and guidance as the village continues to grow and develop.
As well as Chris, we also say goodbye and thank you to retiring councillors Nathan Hanks, Sharon Jones and Tom Milliken.