National award shortlist for popular former Mayor

Coun. John Harbour
Coun. John Harbour

A popular former Mayor of Burnley has been shortlisted for a national award in recognition of his work.

Labour Coun. John Harbour was nominated in the “Place Shaping and Environment” category of the national Councillor of the Year awards for his work on environmental improvement schemes and for his involvement in initiatives to boost the borough’s housing market.

Coun. Harbour is the council’s deputy leader and Executive member for housing and environment, a portfolio that includes responsibilities for parks and green spaces. He also served as the borough’s Mayor in 2009/10.

He was keen to reflect on the fact that being shortlisted by the Local Government Information Unit highlights the hard work and dedication of others, as much as himself.

He said: “It’s an honour to be shortlisted for this award. This is as much a recognition of the hard work of council staff, volunteers and others to improve our communities as it is of my contribution.

“I’m proud of my town and I want to see it prosper. Providing good quality homes and attractive parks and green spaces are the most basic of building blocks that will help ensure our future.”

Among the projects he has overseen as Executive member are the empty homes programme which sees long-term vacant houses bought by the council, refurbished, and sold on to bring “problem properties” back into use; the creation of the Padiham Greenway which transformed a disused railway track into a popular foot and cycle path; and changes to the way the borough’s parks and green spaces are managed, working with nature rather than trying to control it.

Over the years, Coun. Harbour has also worked with Padiham Town Council and many volunteers from the community on such projects as the river side walk in Padiham, and an initiative which sponsored scores of hanging baskets to brighten up Padiham town centre.

Council leader Coun. Mark Townsend said: “This is very good news. As well as acknowledging John’s achievements as a councillor, it is national recognition for great work by officers in our housing and green spaces services in their work to improve our neighbourhoods, and for the volunteers and community members who have worked with John on a wide range of environmental projects.”