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Staffordshire Moorlands says a fond farewell to long-serving Place Director Dai Larner

Whilst the name Dai Larner might not be that familiar to Moorlanders many of the things he's worked on over the last decade certainly will be!

Dai has been an Executive Director at Staffordshire Moorlands District Council since 2008 when the Council formed a Strategic Alliance with neighbouring High Peak where he was already working in the same role.

The end of this year marks the end of era as Dai will be retiring and stepping down from public life so we're taking a look back at some of his highlights from his time in the Moorlands.

As Director for Place, Dai and his teams have been responsible for many of the development projects that shape where we live and work, the way our towns and villages look and the services and amenities we enjoy.

And the people and communities of the district have always been uppermost in his mind: "You have to trust in the community - you're doing things in their towns and it's so important that we listen to what they have to say. Our plans are better through consultation and we do listen to what people tell us.

"And the measure of whether what we do has been successful is simple - do people use it? If it's busy, that's success. So it's especially heartening to see towns such as Leek thriving and the markets going from strength to strength.

"I have loved working here both with my own teams and with supportive teams right across the Council. We really do have some outstanding people. And the partners we work with are also excellent. We've achieved a lot together.

"I'm lucky to have been involved in projects that will last for years and are all about people and communities."

Reflecting on his time here, Dai said: "Working in local government at district level means you're always close to the action in terms of delivering projects and it's been great to be involved in projects such as the redevelopment of the Churnet works site and in bringing national household chains, such as Sainsbury's and the Premier Inn, to the Moorlands to work so harmoniously with our fantastic independent shops and businesses.

"We're also nearly at the point where our Local Plan will be agreed - and already we've got developers and investors showing interest in the sites identified in the plan. In Cheadle, for example, we've got 500 new homes approved and work has begun on some sites. In Biddulph, it's been a pleasure to work with the Town Council who always take an innovative approach and are willing to try new things.

"We've also got some really exciting projects in the pipeline including the plans to reconnect Leek to the rail network, develop a masterplan to guide the regeneration of Cheadle and continue to build on the whole district's cultural heritage to attract more and more visitors to this beautiful part of the country.

 "Of course I'd love to have been here to see these, and many other projects, completed but the nature of this job means it's never finished. I'm proud of what we've delivered during my time here and I know that I'm leaving the Staffordshire Moorlands in a strong position with exciting ambitions for the future."

These sentiments were echoed by the Leader of the Council, Councillor Sybil Ralphs, who said: "Dai's work in the Moorlands is evident in all our towns and villages and his contribution to the lives and environment of our residents and businesses is difficult to sum up in a few words.

"The New Year will see the district's Local Plan receive final approval, something Dai and his team are responsible for delivering, and that will shape the future of the Moorlands for years to come - a lasting legacy indeed!

 "He has been a great ambassador and will be sorely missed. We all wish him and his wife Alice a long, happy and well deserved retirement and wave him a fond farewell with our grateful thanks for his dedicated service to the Staffordshire Moorlands."

Dai's immediate plans for the future include spending several months in New Zealand, via Hong Kong, with Alice, a teacher who is also taking retirement. The couple have two grown-up sons Joe and Sam.