Councillor Gavin Callaghan will post regular updates here about the progress the council is making to transform Basildon borough.
• Find out more about Councillor Gavin Callaghan
• Leader's update - Full and frank assessment of local government finances needed - 29 November 2020
• Leader's update - Coronavirus (COVID-19) message from the Leader - 13 November 2020
• Leader's update - The importance of a safe haven for those in need - 17 Sept 2020
• Leader's update - Planned development is all that should be permitted - 23 July 2020
• Leader's update - Keeping vulnerable children fed during school holidays - 17 June 2020
• Leader's update - Black Lives Matter - 03 June 2020
• Leader's update - A plea to all residents on behalf of Basildon Council - 28 April 2020
• View the Leader's earlier updates...>>
I am deeply saddened today at the passing of Councillor Imelda Clancy. Imelda has been a Councillor in Basildon since 2014 and for four years was my fellow ward councillor in Pitsea North West before being elected to serve the people of Langdon Hills. She served her residents with her characteristic charm and good nature.
Imelda was a shining example of what really makes a council.
Not every elected member will be a Group Leader, a Mayor or a committee chair. Different elected members make different contributions in different sorts of ways. She wasn't always in the local paper and she rarely spoke in council meetings. But you always knew she was there and you always knew Imelda had an opinion. Imelda was one of the biggest characters in the chamber. She was forthright in telling you what she thought of a policy and tireless in making requests for improvements and budget commitments on behalf of her constituents.
Over recent years I have got to know Imelda and her family history. She would often regale me with stories of her family's Irish heritage which was very similar to my own. Whenever you were in her company, she would always first ask you about how your family was, remembering them by name before telling me to thank my lucky stars I landed on my feet!
When you are Councillors, it often doesn't matter about your politics. It is why I work across the aisle with different people with different political opinions. In local government, you're inspired to stand, not because of national political opinions, but because you want the place you live to be better. Whilst Imelda and I disagreed on many national political issues, locally we were both in agreement on one thing; Basildon has had a raw deal and the people and businesses here deserve better,
Her car park chats were legendary. Often at the end of a council meeting, as she stood, ploughing through a packet of cigarettes, she would put the world to rights, give me advice on how to care for my dog and express her views on what had happened at the meeting with her flamboyant use of the English language! She was warm, funny and thoroughly decent.
Imelda was a councillor with a big heart and even bigger character. I will miss her greatly.
Councillor Callaghan has served Pitsea North West as its ward councillor since May 2012. In 2017 he became the youngest leader of a local authority in the UK. As head of a hung council with no party in overall control, Councillor Callaghan:
Returning as Council Leader in May 2019 he has identified priorities to revitalise the borough's town centres, clean up neighbourhoods and protect open spaces and modernise the council's governance making it fit to manage inclusive growth of the borough in to the future.
As Council Leader, Councillor Callaghan chairs its Policy and Resources Committee. He also chairs the council's Town Centre Revival Committee.
Gavin is a Director of a public affairs company and previously worked as a political adviser, a lobbyist for national charities and a parliamentary speech writer.
Gavin has a degree in politics from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne and attended Campion School in Hornchurch.
For further information see Councillor details - Councillor Callaghan
You can contact Councillor Callaghan by email, see contact details below.