End of an era as veteran Ribble Valley councillor couple resign for pastures new
Two long-serving stalwarts of Clitheroe Town Council and Ribble Valley Borough Council have resigned to start a new life in Scotland.
Former Leader of the Lib Dems at RVBC, Coun. Allan Knox served the Primrose ward of the Town Council for 22 years and Coun. Sue Knox served the Littlemoor ward for 14 years. Both councillors also served the same wards on Ribble Valley Borough Council for 24 years and 10 years respectively.
Coun. Knox also served as Clitheroe Town Mayor between 2005 and 2007, while Sue was elected Town Mayor in 2011.
The duo stepped down to start a new life in St Andews Scotland, where Sue has secured permanent employment.
Speaking of his proudest achievements, Allan said: “Probably the thing I am most proud of was coming up with the plan to save the red telephone box in Market Place, when BT decided they no longer wanted it. I persuaded the Town Council to buy it and install a defibrillator there.
“There have been lots of changes to the council over the years; perhaps the biggest was the transfer of the housing stock and I was really proud of the Scrutiny Review that Coun. Mike Ranson and I did that helped guide the council through the process. More recently, as leader of the opposition, I have worked closely with both the Leader of the Council, Stephen Atkinson, and the Chief Executive, Marshal Scott, as the council provided a united front to tackle the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic.”
The keen golfer added: "All good things must come to an end and I will miss the people of Clitheroe and the community spirit of the town."
Sue added: "I would love to say I had made one big achievement, but local government moves at such a glacial rate and much of the things it does are statutory, so I am most proud of the sum of small achievements that I have had. These have included things such as getting a dog bin moved from outside someone’s house back to its original position away from homes and actually on the dog walk; getting a housing developer to increase the buffer between the end of gardens and a new development; and supporting residents to stop a garden grab planning application on a site that was far too small.
“I’ll miss knowing what it felt like knowing everybody in Clitheroe and being the person people ask to fix things or explain things. I’ll miss nipping out on a short errand and coming home three hours later because I bumped into so many people and ended up doing case work, having reported three potholes.
“On a personal note I have loved working with Allan and watching his brain in action, although we were a bit like those couples that go out on a romantic date and start talking about the kids except we talked about potholes and dog poo!"
Tributes have been paid to reflect the hard work of the local politicians.
The new Town Council Leader, Coun. Mark French, said: “I am truly sad to see them go, the town has lost two brilliant councillors who served their wards, the town and borough with diligence and care. They always put the people first above local politics and their extensive knowledge and experience will be a loss for all of us”.
Similar sentiments were expressed by fellow Lib Dem councillor and a very dear friend of the couple, Coun. Mary Robinson, who said: "Allan and I have worked and supported each other for the past 24 years. I've always admired his and Sue's work ethic. You couldn't find two harder working councillors - totally dedicated to serving the people of the Ribble Valley. When we worked together we were a team. I will miss their friendship and support, but look forward to visiting them in Scotland soon."
Meanwhile, Leader of RVBC Stephen Atkinson wished the couple the best of luck in their new life. He added: "I would like to thank the Knox' for their huge contribution to helping the local community. I must admit there have been times when we've not always agreed on things, but one thing unique about RVBC and its politics is that we will work together for the good of the community and this is exactly what we did. I wish Allan and Sue all the very best for the future."
Coun. Knox has been replaced as leader of the opposition on RVBC by Coun. Stewart Fletcher, also a member of the Town Council. There are two vacancies on Clitheroe Town Council which will most likely be filled following elections, to be held on a date yet to be determined by Ribble Valley Borough Council.