Buckingham Town Council recognises planning officer for 20 years of service

Buckingham Town Council planning officer Katharine McElligott
Buckingham Town Council planning officer Katharine McElligott

Buckingham Town Council planning officer Katharine McElligott has been presented with a commemorative clock in recognition of her 20 years service to the town.

Katharine originally joined the council as a clerical assistant back in 1999 and proved popular with colleagues through her knowledge of Buckingham and its buildings.

In early 2017 Katharine became the town council’s dedicated planning officer, a role which she still performs.

As part of her planning officer role, every new development in Buckingham is scrutinised by Katharine who has spotted errors in the plans of various developers.

Once Katharine has identified an issue she fights on residents behalves to put it right.

A town council spokesman said: "While details such as poor cycle access or nowhere to store the bins might seem minor when dwarfed by the scale of a major housing development, they affect the quality of life of those who move in.

"Buckingham is lucky to have a planning officer who understands this and is committed to making things better."

Katharine told the Advertiser: "When I got presented with the clock I was totally embarrassed to be honest!

"I've had lots of fun over the past 20 years and enjoyed working with people for the good of the town.

"In some ways the role has reduced because we have more staff at the town council (when Katharine started there was just her and the town clerk) but in other ways it has increased because planning has got much more complicated.

"Developers are trying to slide things through but my job is to notice them and stop them getting away with things.

"A recent example is with the Tingewick Triangle site when a block paved road was requested by developers, however we know from the Lace Hill development that does not tend to work so we highlighted it and have succeeded in getting a more suitable road surface.

"Now we have the neighbourhood plan made we can use it to support our arguments, and it gives us a lot of material to work with."

Mayor of Buckingham Cllr Mark Cole added: "I have had the pleasure of working with Katharine for the four years that I have been on Buckingham Town Council, both as a councillor and as chairman of the planning committee, the latter which she oversees with an encyclopaedic knowledge of Buckingham matters. She has served our market town well for the past 20 years and hopefully she will do so for many more years to come - she is one of the town council's greatest assets!"