After an impressive 16 years of dedicated service, Cllr Jane Roberts has announced that she will be stepping down as a town councillor following the elections on 4th May.
Jane shared with the Gazette that she has decided to dedicate more time to the charity she founded, Ross Community Development Trust and its Ross Good Neighbours Project, as well as spending more time with her four grandchildren.
Reflecting on her time as a councillor, Jane noted that her last four-year term has been the most enjoyable and eventful. After being elected Mayor following the 2019 elections, Jane immediately set to work with the Clerk, Town council staff, other councillors, and volunteers to prepare for the visit of the then-Prince of Wales, now King Charles, in November 2019. The event was an opportunity to showcase the vibrant volunteer groups and local food businesses in Ross, with the Market Place filled with excited well-wishers eager to see the future King. Despite the chilly weather, the town pulled together to make the visit a resounding success.
It was the onset of the Covid pandemic that Jane regards as the most significant event of her Mayoral year. As the pandemic struck, the community faced the immense challenge of organising local support for vulnerable and isolating individuals during a national emergency. Ross responded admirably, with volunteer groups like Ross Lions and Ross Rotary stepping up to assist, and over 300 people offering their help with shopping, befriending, prescription delivery, and support for vaccination clinics.
Throughout her time as Mayor, Jane was grateful for the support she received from her fellow councillors and made an effort to bring together new councillors with more experienced ones and Town Council staff. This teamwork led to the development of a five-year plan for the town, and despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, the Town Council has managed to increase its activity while balancing the books and keeping the rise in the Town Council precept to a minimum.
Jane believes that the strong teamwork among the councillors is evident in the numerous new initiatives that have emerged as part of the five-year plan since the Covid restrictions were lifted. Some of these initiatives include the Tourism strategy, which has brought about two successful Equinox Festivals, tables and chess under the Market House, and new visitor information boards. Additionally, there have been play improvements at the Rope Walk, plans for a new playground in the north of the town, and the recent advertisement for a street cleaning operative to maintain the town centre’s cleanliness.
The Neighbourhood Development Plan, chaired by Melvin Reynolds, took over eight years to develop and passed its referendum in 2021 with an overwhelming 84 per cent in favour.
Now transitioning to being an ordinary voter, Jane has expressed her continued support for the Liberal Democrat candidates in Town and County Council elections, praising their hard work and dedication to improving the town without unnecessary arguments. She specifically mentioned Ed O’Driscoll and his team in Ross East, Chris Bartrum and the team in Ross North, and Louis Stark and his team in Ross West.
Jane Roberts will be fondly remembered for her unwavering commitment to the community, as evidenced by her British Empire Medal for her work during the Covid pandemic.
Although she may be stepping down from her role as a councillor, her passion for making a difference in Ross will undoubtedly continue through her work with Ross Community Development Trust and the Ross Good Neighbours Project.
The community remains grateful for her numerous contributions throughout her years as a Town Councillor. Her tenure has been marked by collaboration and the fostering of a strong sense of unity among councillors and residents.