Kirklees Council leader Shabir Pandor has thanked council workers for their hard work throughout the “worst human crisis we have seen in decades.”

From staff delivering basic council services on the frontline to the council’s executive directors, Clr Pandor said everyone deserved praise for their efforts.

Clr Pandor was speaking at a meeting of the council’s Cabinet where one officer in particular, head of markets Chris Cotton, was praised for his work on Huddersfield’s Queensgate Market.

Clr Pandor said Mr Cotton and his team had done a “fantastic job” in planning a move which would protect and enhance the town’s market.

Mr Cotton had negotiated with traders in Queensgate Market and meticulously planned a temporary move into the town centre until a permanent new home was completed on the site of the current outdoor market.

Queensgate Market is due to close in August and traders will move into converted shipping containers or empty shops, probably in New Street, for at least three years.

Clr Pandor said the planning would ensure Huddersfield markets continued to thrive and added: “We have fantastic officers working in the council. Chris Cotton and his team have done some fantastic work.

READ MORE: New plans for Queensgate Market and the Cultural Heart events venue

“But it is not just about this regeneration but the stuff we have been doing in Dewsbury and also the way that the staff have worked over the last 24 months in the pandemic has been sterling.

“It really makes me proud to be leader amidst the worst human crisis we have seen in decades.

“I want to keep saying this in every meeting. Our officers are the ones who have made sure we have come through and we have come through stronger.

“Sometimes officers get undermined, overlooked and forgotten and sometimes, and I am seeing more of this, they are getting unduly criticised and that should not be the case so every opportunity I get I will stand up and say thank you.

“Thank you very much to our bin workers, thank you to our care workers, thank you to our housing workers, social care staff, the children care staff and the list goes on. Without them we would not be in the situation we are in.

“I am really pleased we have a fantastic executive team, led by an excellent chief executive. In all fairness we have done sterling work and I am really pleased we have got this far.”

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Kirklees Council employs around 6,000 staff and other Cabinet members also added their praise and thanks.

Clr Cathy Scott, in charge of housing, said: “We are in a pandemic and the reality is we need to support eachother. Staff are working tirelessly and doing the best they can.

“We are quick to condemn and complain but there’s limited resources and a lot of staff are working over and above what they should be. Despite the pandemic they are doing the best they can.”

Clr Naheed Mather and Clr Will Simpson

Clr Will Simpson, Cabinet member for greener Kirklees, praised his small team on climate change who “punched above their weight” to deliver impressive results, beating their carbon reduction target a year early. The target was a reduction of 40% but the team achieved 53.5%.

Clr Naheed Mather, Cabinet member for the environment, said: “I want to thank all the staff who have enabled us to deliver throughout the pandemic especially those in frontline services.”

She said bin workers had emptied nine million bins last year with 99.7% of them on time. Around 28,000 potholes had also been filled at a cost of just over £2 million.

“Despite staff being moved, sickness and isolation…I am sure we have delivered efficiencies for the residents of our district,” she added.