Members, setting up a new National Park Authority is a challenge. This is the first time it has been done for over fifty years.
Over the last four years Lindsay has taken us through that process to establish a stable, well run organisation. Throughout her time with us Lindsay has shown great commitment and dedication to the New Forest, the National Park and the Authority.
Not only has the establishment of the organisation been a significant achievement in its own right but there is much by way of other successes to celebrate and I have selected two items to comment on.
For many years many organisations have sought to provide support for the Forest's commoning economy. This has proved very difficult as our circumstances here do not comfortably fit into the national picture. Lindsay's knowledge of how Defra works was fundamental in securing the Single Farm Payment for the whole of the open Forest to the considerable financial benefit of all practising Commoners.
Similarly the establishment of the planning service for the national park was a hugely complex process fraught with risk. If the service was not ready to run on 'day one' we could not have continued to provide a timely and proper service to local people seeking planning permission. As one member commented at the time, the achievement was nothing short of miraculous.
Members, I have known for some time about Lindsay's views on the need to hand over to a successor at the right time and I understand and respect her reasoning on this. It saddens me that some parties have more recently chosen to make personal and offensive comments about her. Such nasty behaviour falls outside what I regard as common decency; I will deal with that matter separately.
I am sure that all members will join me in thanking Lindsay for her singular contribution to the creation and achievements of the National Park Authority and in wishing Lindsay well for the future