A former county councillor has put out a call for fresh blood to join local politics after being made an honorary alderman of the county.
Ian Laidlaw-Dickson received the honour to recognise his service as a councillor from 1993 to 2009, including his time as chairman of the policy committee from 1995 to 1999. He was also a member of the Herts Police Authority from 1995 to 2008, serving as chairman for five years.
Mr Laidlaw-Dickson, of Warners End, Hemel Hempstead, said: “I wasn’t expecting it. I’m very proud of it. It is just nice to get some public recognition.”
Although the 65-year-old Labour member was not re-elected in the 2009 election he is still an active member of the community - as a board member with homelessness charity DENS and Community Action Dacorum and a member of the management committee at Warners End Community Centre.
But he said if he had been successful in the election four years ago he would have stepped down this year anyway. “I don’t believe in people going on forever. Having had a premature ejection I certainly wasn’t going to stand again,” said Mr Laidlaw-Dickson
“One of the difficulties with councils is people tend to be on them for a long time and sometimes you just need to make way so that you get a fresher approach.
“I want more people to get involved and I want to see young people involved in parties and councils – that is certainly true for the county council, which is kind of a post retirement home for some people.”
But he said to attract younger members meetings would have to be held during the evenings rather than daytimes. He backs a single tier unitary system rather than the current two tier system of county and district councils.