News From The Conservators: April

In February, Clare Swarbrick was voted in as a Conservator to represent the residents of the Special Drainage District of Royston and Ben Harrop and Robert Law were voted to represent the Stint Holders. This follows Mark Weatherhead’s retirement in January after many years of service.

John King said that “I’ve been a Conservator for 18 years and Chair for 5. After Clare’s election and the clear groundswell for openness and community engagement, now feels like the right time for me to step aside as Chairman and show the residents of Royston and the users of the Heath that we are serious about making a positive change for the future. It’s time to offer to our new colleagues the opportunity to take the reins and bring fresh enthusiasm and positive ways to modernise the way we manage and steward the Heath. Today we announce that Clare Swarbrick has received unanimous support from all the Conservators to take over the position of Chair of the Conservators and we all wish her every success in the role. As Lord of the Manor’s nominee I will remain a Conservator to support her and the work of the Conservators”.

Over the past 3 years the Conservators have come under increased pressure from residents in the local area to be open and engaging in the way that they manage the Heath, along with being more transparent with regards to their income and expenditure.  Ben Harrop said “since joining as a Conservator last year, I’ve observed and it’s my opinion that much of the concerns the public have with the actions of the Conservators is as a result of poor communication and the lack of sharing information”.

In recent years there have been challenges over the governance under which the Conservators operate and concerns over suggested amendments to the Byelaws. Clare Swarbrick said ” I am aware of many concerns raised by the community and we are focused on listening and consulting widely to ensure the Heath has a long-term sustainable future, secured for generations to come. I can confirm that any review of the Byelaws will not happen for at least 12-24 months because we are committing to a review of the governance, election process and prioritising the creation of management plans for the SSSI and the remaining Heath and Greens and will fully involve the public. I am extremely excited by the prospect of working together to encourage activities on and involvement with the Heath and Greens. We need to do this in an open and transparent way.”

Conservators will hold an Open Meeting at 7pm on 30th April at King James Academy Royston, Senior Site (formerly Meridian).