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Who am I – I have lived in Purton since the early 1980’s and have bought up my two girls on my own as a single parent since 1990. I was first elected in 2006 onto North Wiltshire District Council to represent the parishes of Purton, Leigh, Ashton Keynes, Minety and Oaksey together with two other District Councillors. In 2009 when Wiltshire County Council became a Unitary Council, merging with the Districts, I was elected as one of the first Unitary Councillors for the new Unitary Authority of Wiltshire and have been the Councillor for Purton Parish and the Parish of Braydon for the last 12 years. I am planning to stand again in the 2021 elections and hope I will continue to have the support of the constituents...
Prior to being a councillor, I was a member of Ps & Qs – an Environmental Group in Purton and continued as a member for around 25 years. Ps & Qs no longer operates however Dr Richard Pagett who was the chairman for the duration of the group continues to send out regular alerts and Blogs on his site – Carbonbrake.
I was also an active member of the congregation of Purton Church for many years, doing the Sunday morning Coffees each month for around 8 years and also volunteered for around 15 years with Purton’s annual Activity Week for young people – being a key organiser for around 3 years with a team of wonderful local helpers.
I spent my early years in Rhodesia and Nigeria (for a short while) returning with my parents to the UK in the early 1960’s. I grew up in Surrey, in a rural area with fields, woods, commons and watercourses as our playground for the local children.
As a Teenager I ran the local youth club and then became a founder member of the Rotaract Group – 18-30 years olds - and was Secretary and President.
Career wise I started in Westminster in a firm of Surveyors as a junior office clerk and went on to work for them over the years, rising to be assistant manager in one of their Estate Agency branches.
My work experience was initially Lettings of private property to tenants but moved onto House Sales and Valuations.
My career in Estate Agency continued when I got married but now in Swindon, until my first child came along. I later worked for a local Food Ingredients Broker researching products and finding buyers for the Cocoa Powders we sold.
I am now retired – if indeed you can call being a councillor as retirement as now my week is very much around a working week often extending to weekends and evenings.
As the local councillor I am aware that the key issues that seem to be high on residents list of concerns is the continued development of Swindon which has resulted in the village getting over 950 new homes in the parish on the boundary with Swindon and additional homes in the village without having the proper infrastructure - roads, public transport links, support for the doctors surgery. Traffic, speed and parking are causing many comments.
However the work of a councillor is not just about the things we all see and know about but also supporting people with their own personal issues, whether it is a housing problem, school choice, benefits signposting. It is the confidential help given to people struggling with difficult issues that I find very rewarding. Many of the issues residents have are not necessarily Council related however I have good knowledge of how to help people and who to approach.
Signposting and information giving have been key aspects of the work I have done over the years plus also sitting on the various committees at the Council. I have been the Vice Chair on Children’s Select Committee for many years, plus have sat on Environment Select Committee, Audit, Licensing Flood Working Group and Planning plus several Task Groups to include Child Sexual Exploitation Task Group which I chaired.
As a member of the local Area Board I have led on various topics to include Dog Fouling and Wiltshire Voices which for our area focussed on Dementia. I presented the start of the journey we had with becoming a Dementia Friendly Community and supported as a volunteer for many years the coffee mornings of the RWB 3M’s Group which was set up as an opportunity to meet for those with memory loss.
I have been for some while the Chair of the Hills Liaison Group for Purton which meets twice a year to update us locally on Hills Waste operations in Purton. I have also in the past sat on outside bodies to include the Wessex Water Liaison Panel, Cotswold Conservation Board.
As a Unitary Councillor it is a privilege and humbling to be asked to take part in decision making across the community and I look forward to hopefully be part of the judging of Wiltshire Best Kept Village Competition in 2021.
The key issues that I have worked on over the years locally have been:
- Preparation of a draft Flood Management Plan for Purton
- Lobbying for the opening of the Co-Op shop together with the support of the community
- Acquiring a mobile Post Office Service, whilst waiting for the Post Office to re-open in the Co-Op
- Representing the local concerns on major planning applications
- Pushing for the installation of the Puffin Crossing at Mouldon View
- Constant pushing, together with the support of officers, the Developers at both Mouldon View and Ridgeway Farm to complete the developments
- Second Zebra Crossing at Ridgeway Farm – again with the support of the community
- Raising concerns about the safety of the Crosslanes Junction
- Working with outside bodies, such as Gigaclear, Thames Water, Network Rail to alert them to issues arising locally
Sitting on the Area Board supporting grant applications which include Grant Funding for local projects and schemes in Purton to include:
- Purton Parish Council – CCTV and footpath improvements
- Purton Magazine – web design
- Purton Tennis Club – floodlighting & fencing
- Pips Community Café – towards setting up and Wifi
- Young Farmers - new roof
- Swindon & Cricklade Railway Centre - repairs to Railway Carriage
There are many other issues that a councillor deals with but when it comes to large achievements I strongly believe it shouldn’t be about me but helping the community to take control and lead.
My job as a councillor is to engage and listen to residents. Hence I hope I am a councillor who has time for you, listens and responds to you the residents.
Together we are stronger - My voice is your voice to represent you at Wiltshire Council.
- I will continue to lobby for safer roads and routes
- I will continue to lobby for appropriate development for the community
- I will continue to listen to you and keep you informed
- I will continue to work with partners and outside bodies
- I will continue to sit on committees and task groups
- I will continue to be your voice
- I am here for you
I feel really proud to have been a resident for nearly 40 years in this village plus it has been a privilege to be your Unitary Councillor and hope I can continue to serve you when I stand for re-election.
We are so fortunate to have the caring communities and organisations within Purton Parish and the unprecedented times of the pandemic shows how people pull together and support neighbours and others.