Ian Blair Pilling
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I am delighted to be the Wiltshire Conservative Councillor for the new Avon Valley division.
I am also the Wiltshire Council Cabinet member for IT, broadband, operational assets (our buildings), leisure and libraries.
My wife Judy, our 2 daughters and I moved from Amesbury to Netheravon in 1981. As a district nurse Judy worked in Salisbury, Amesbury and around Salisbury Plain. Our girls, and later our 2 boys, have long since flown the nest, so the ‘we’ is now Judy, myself and Chino our young retriever.
You may have seen us with Colonel Grumpy’s Coffee Bus at events from 2005 to 16 – often Netheravon Parachuting Centre. We had a lot of fun, met great people and learnt the hard work of running a small business.
In my Army career I was as a REME officer; a mechanical engineer, later in Information Systems and finally a Defence Attaché in Central America and Mexico. I served in Germany and NI and had the good fortune to spend time as a captain and later commanding officer in Belize. I understand the needs, perspective and value of soldiers and their families.
Larkhill Garrison is a large part of Avon Valley and Wiltshire is fortunate and appreciative of the enormous part that the military play. As the Army regroups into more stable bases it is vital that we integrate as vibrant communities. That means participating and having your say. The Services rightly take no political side, but you each have a vote and I encourage you to use it as you see fit.
Serving our community over the years, gave me a grounding in what and who make our communities tick. I have been chairman of our village hall committee, the Durrington and Area LINK and Netheravon Parish Council and a member of our Working Mens Club committee at a very difficult time – it survived and now thrives.
I continue to volunteer in our library and chair our Jubilee Committee, which creates and helps with some great fun events. As a Wiltshire Councillor I have helped many good people working to improve our collective lives; our active Parish Councils, the wide variety of volunteer groups from the Cheerful Cuppa to the Paths for All groups improving our many rights of way. A member of the Eastern Area Planning Committee - I have learnt much and been able to advise and help with some difficult cases.
We all want safer roads – In our Community Area Transport Group I have shaped and brought to reality some important improvements from speed limits to new pedestrian pathways. Flood prevention and drainage are difficult areas - I have got advice and action.
The really satisfying part is where I can help a person or family in difficulties. This gets my priority.
Two years ago, I was given the Information Technology portfolio. My technical knowledge may have been a tad rusty, but working with some excellent officers, we have hugely improved the Council’s systems. Using the new website or MyWilts app you can report potholes or fly tipping, pay your bills (please), book your slot at the gym or recycling centre or find useful information. Our Wiltshire Online programme has raised access to super and ultrafast broadband from 50% to 96% of Wiltshire’s premises. Our staff can work more flexibly, and your data is properly protected.
I joined the Council Cabinet last July adding responsibility for our buildings from care homes, to community centres, offices and depots. Mid pandemic Leisure and Libraries were added. Through the pandemic we have had to close, reopen and close again, with the safety of our customers and staff being paramount. Through all this our staff have done a great job in providing as much of a service as possible and tried many innovative ideas on the internet. We recognise just how important these services are and look forward to fully restoring and improving the services as soon as conditions allow.
I proudly believe in our communities, the leadership and staff of Wiltshire Council and what we can achieve together. The huge contribution of all our volunteers, who stepped up to help their communities through the pandemic is well recognised - we are working to give our communities a greater say and role.
I don’t find Facebook easy, but soon there will be some postings where we can interact - Twitter is one too many channels for me - I major on my email and phone.
Covid may stop me from knocking on your door, but please give me a call – let’s talk.
I would like to hear your views, concerns, questions and ideas.
You may even want to get involved.
Thank you for taking the time - My very best wishes for all.
01980 670812 and 07518 942216