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Salisbury is such a wonderful place to live in and I want to help make it even better: to improve care for older people, raise the quality of education, and enhance our beautiful city. Above all, I want to support and champion families, which are so precious to us all...
I have lived in St Francis and Stratford for 18 years with my husband. Our twins, now grown-up, both attended the local grammar schools. I am a committed Christian and active member of a local church.
I have a Joint Honours degree in Economics and Philosophy, and worked for IBM before taking a career break to raise my children and subsequently worked in a secondary school. I have served as a Governor of St Mark's Junior School and worked as a volunteer with Wiltshire Parenting to run parenting courses
I chair the Salisbury branch of the ‘Explore’ charity, which brings married couples into secondary schools for pupils to quiz them on their relationship. I take a close interest in national and international politics, have been on the parliamentary candidates list and was, until recently, the Parliamentary Officer for Pioneer Churches UK. I am a Trustee of the Conservative Christian Fellowship and on the management committee of Grassroots Conservatives.
- As SACRE Chair, I have sought to improve R.E. teaching in schools across the county.
- On the Children and Health Select Committees, I have scrutinised our provision for children and young people, health and social care.
- As Chair of a Task Group I have advised on the new contract for Children's Centres.
- Funding for a build-out outside South Wilts Grammar to make it safer for pupils to cross;
- Village Gates to help slow traffic past the local school and through the village;
- Funding for pavement bypass around trees by Warwick Close;
- Air conditioning for Stratford Social Club;
- New bench on Victoria Road spur.
I have listened to your concerns and responded promptly. As a result, we now have:
In addition, I have helped with your concerns about disabled bus passes, city centre toilets, waste collection, schools admissions, tree cutting, gully clearing, pavement repairs, bus stops, flooding, road markings, dog bins, extractor fans, parking regulations, street cleaning, housing, streetlights, footpaths, fly tipping, noisy neighbours, planning applications, hedge cutting and speeding traffic.
Help and advice
If you have a question or concern, please feel free to contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 01722 503 260. I represent you on Wiltshire Council; Charles, Kevin and Mark on Salisbury City Council. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us. We hold a ‘surgery’ in the library on the last Saturday of each month, from 11am to noon, no appointment needed. Do please come along and let us know what you think!
Mary's Latest News
Mary has new role
Mary is now the Portfolio Holder for Skills and Social Mobility, working closely with Cllr Pauline Church, Cabinet Member for Children, Skills, Education and S. Wiltshire Recovery. She is keen to make a difference across the age range, supporting families of young children, working with schools and colleges, and engaging with local employers. This complements Mary’s continuing work as Chair of the Child Wellbeing subgroup of Salisbury Area Board.
Pantry Partnership Opens in Victoria Park
John Glen MP joined Mark and the Mayor of Salisbury to help open the Pantry Partnership in the former Bowls Club in Victoria Park. This is a fantastic project to reduce food waste and provide for some of the most vulnerable people in our community.
Come and explore how individuals can help to combat climate change, at Salisbury Area Board, 7pm on 4th November in the City Hall. Wiltshire Council has committed to become carbon neutral by 2030, the first steps being to increase renewable energy generation on council buildings and see which vehicle replacements can be electric. It has also set up a Global Warming and Climate Emergency Task Group of councillors to look at renewable energy generation, energy use and efficiency, planning, transport and air quality, waste, land use, business and industry. If you have any ideas or concerns, do please contact the new Portfolio Holder for Climate Change on Ashley.O’Neill@wiltshire.gov.uk.
Fly-tipping in Gradidge Lane
The council’s proposal to erect bollards at the Phillips Lane end was thwarted by objections from the Trail Riders Fellowship (TRF), so we are seeking to contact them to explain our proposal and/or see if they would accept a ban on cars only. Mary’s request for an onsite camera was rejected as, apparently, we don’t have enough reported incidents to warrant one. Please continue to report it, using the Report tab at www.wiltshire.gov.uk.
Mill Lane Yellow Lines at Last!
After years of patient persistence, we now have double yellow lines on the corner of Mill Lane and Stratford Road, so drivers have a clear view to exit safely.
The Board meets every two months to consider and decide on local issues, and to give grants to community groups. Recent topics have been Rough Sleepers, Transport Strategy, and Young People’s Apprenticeships. Do come along and join the discussion.
If you see a pothole or uneven pavement, please report it via the www.wiltshire.gov.uk ‘Report’ tab. For other concerns, please raise an Area Board issue on the same website, giving your email address to be kept up-to-date with progress. If you prefer, ring 0300 456 0100.
Mary holds a ‘surgery’ in the library on the last Saturday of each month, from 11am to noon, no appointment needed. Do please come along and let her know what you think!
Seeking Value for Money
Salisbury City Council is facing some significant cost pressures as we invest in enhanced street cleaning, re-open the damaged children’s play areas, restore the war memorial and improve our parks as well as developing a Neighbourhood Plan with residents and opening a new cemetery. We are confident we can demonstrate good value for money. We plan to freeze the precept at this level until 2021.
Wiltshire Council is increasing its focus on prevention, use of digital technology, and reliance on volunteer and community groups, to combat reducing government grants and increasing demand for social care for adults and children. As local residents, let’s do what we can in order to enable local government to do what we cannot.
Keeping Calm and Carrying On
Following the attack on Sergei and Yulia Skripal in our city, we would like to say thank you to local people for their truly British response of carrying on as normal, and also to the many agencies and authorities who have worked together to protect us. We are delighted at their recovery, and that of Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey.
Friends of Victoria Park
The Friends of Victoria Park formed last year following the refurbishment of the Park. The friendly and enthusiastic volunteers have helped with litter picking, weeding and planting as well as joining with Salisbury Rotary to plant 4000 purple crocus as part of the Purple4Polio campaign and collaborating with Braemar Lodge to refurbish some of the borders. Volunteers are very welcome, please call: 01722 342860, email: email@example.com facebook: Friends of Victoria Park Salisbury.
Mark: The First Year
It’s been a very busy year since being elected in May last year. We have made some concrete steps in tackling the litter problem, and our city centre stewards are making a real difference in addressing anti-social behaviour. Last year I accompanied my fellow councillors, Kevin and Charles, on a visit to Victoria Park tennis club, a great resource being used by local South Wilts pupils. A few months later I was invited back to South Wilts to be grilled by 7B on what more we could be doing to improve the city. They fired questions at me for a full hour and would have made Jeremy Paxman very proud! On the personal front, I started work in August as Chief of Staff for our local MP, John Glen. If there is anything more that we can be doing to help you, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
City Centre Pavements Make-Over
Many local people have expressed concern at the poor state of the city centre pavements. SCC have now instructed the WC Parish Stewards to focus all their efforts on addressing this. We look forward to seeing new paving slabs throughout the city centre!
Victoria spur streetlights
Thank you to those who raised with Mary the broken streetlights on the Victoria Road spur to the underpass. After much chasing, the fault was traced to the Highways England trunk road cables, replaced at the same time as the subway’s refurbishment.
Cleaning up our city is close to most people’s hearts. Taking over the contract from WC has not been without difficulties, with no contractors working at the weekends, and SCC having no input into what was done and when. Since then we have had good talks with the contractors and most problems are slowly being overcome. Just some of the improvements to date are: 90 new litter bins, extended pavement sweepers hours, new vacuum cleaner (the Glutton) with operative, a new pavement scrubber, a new audit system to check that our money is being well spent, talks with local businesses about their rubbish collections, removed the graffiti from most of the underpasses (Castle St is next), and we’ve started removing chewing gum deposits. On a colourful note, the Summer hanging baskets have been increased to 160, summer planting increased by 30%, and sponsorship sought for roundabouts.
The street stewards have been such a success with businesses and the public alike that SCC have decided to continue with them at present. Stewards monitor and reduce street drinking, provide information to the police on drug taking and dealing, work with charities like Turning Point who help the homeless, and people with drug and alcohol problems; and also guide visitors to the city. In January alone, they dealt with 57 alcohol-related incidents, 34 drugs dealing and misuse, 20 begging, 14 homelessness, 3 public disorder, and 23 parking incidents; and 71 other issues including skateboarding on the war memorial, street trading, poaching, lost children, confused older people, and missing persons.
SCC has installed 49 hard standings to the caravan park on Hudson’s field, a council owned site operated by the caravan club. This will enable the letting season to be extended, bringing more visitors to the city and increased revenue for the city.
Stratford Rd/Waters Rd Junction
Mary has long been concerned about the safety of older people traversing this wide stretch of road. However, the number of pedestrians is too low to qualify for a crossing and her request for a road sign to slow traffic was denied.
Street nameplates in need of repair
If you see a carful of councillors driving around, stopping frequently to peer at street signs, do not be alarmed. We are attempting to compile a list of those in need of repair. If you spot any, do please let us know.
Wiltshire Council recently reviewed Salisbury City Council boundaries, which have not changed for some 60 years, even as the city has grown. The aim was that council boundaries should reflect community identity and help good governance. Wiltshire Council voted on 12th July not to merge Laverstock & Ford with Salisbury City Council. They also voted to move Bishopdown Farm into Laverstock & Ford Parish.
Various assets and functions were to be transferred from Wiltshire to Salisbury City Council, including Stratford Social Club and also all ground maintenance. However, Salisbury City Council is still debating this.
Many local people complained to Mary about the appalling noise and disturbance from helicopters over recent months from Old Sarum Airfield. Mary raised this at the local Flying Forum, which she chairs. Helicopter noise is more intrusive than fixed-wing aircraft and residents have reported helicopters circling 8 times in an hour.
Airfield manager, Angus Beal, said that the new helicopter training contract was important to the viability of the Airfield and would last 2 years. Each trainee pilot needs 290 hours of flying experience to gain their licence. The training contains several phases: new students use the shorter circuit for smaller aircraft, and then progress to fly further from the airfield. This process will be repeated for each new intake of students. As ever, the proximity to Boscombe Down restricts where they can fly.
Neither Wiltshire Council nor Salisbury City Council have any power relating to aircraft noise or disturbance: the Civil Aviation Authority [CAA] is the authority in these matters. The CAA has investigated recent complaints and confirmed that the Airfield is operating legally. Several people have asked whether Wiltshire Council’s planning system can help. Mary has checked, and double-checked, with the planning officer concerned and has been told that there are currently no planning restrictions on the level or type of aircraft noise, nor any which prohibit pilot training. Mary has asked planners for a Section 106 agreement restricting noise for the future.
If you have a complaint about aircraft activity, please make it directly to www.oldsarumairfield.co.uk on the ‘Contacts' tab.
Out and About
Mary arranged for the unsightly advert in the car park by the Castle Road One-Stop Shop to be removed. She has also requested a drainage gully in the Victoria Park gateway opposite S. Wilts Grammar to address recent flooding. In response to local residents’ concerns about proposed double yellow lines outside Orchard House, Mary has instead requested white lines a pavement width apart with a pedestrian symbol on the road between them. This will deter parking and indicate to drivers that pedestrians are likely to be in the road. Mary was also delighted to visit Turning Point’s REFOCUS in Stratford Rd to see the wonderful way they care for vulnerable people.
Children and Families in Salisbury
Mary also chairs the new ‘Child Wellbeing Forum’ set up recently by Salisbury Area Board. Their first goal is to improve communication and coordination of local services which already exist to help children and parents. It is widely recognised that the first years of childhood are the most formative, so the focus is on children aged 0-5.
If you see a pothole or uneven pavement, please report it via the www.wiltshire.gov.uk ‘Report’ tab. For other concerns, please raise an Area Board issue on the same website, giving your email address to be kept up-to-date with progress. If you do not use the internet then please ring 0300 456 0100.
R.E. in Wiltshire
Mary chairs the Wiltshire Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education (SACRE) which supports schools with RE and Collective Worship. The new local Syllabus aims to help teachers to communicate core concepts at the heart of a religion, enabling pupils to understand each religion in its own terms, as a coherent worldview.
Victoria Park Renovation
Paths, benches, tennis court fencing, shrubs, flower beds and trees, a wheelchair-friendly path, and new multi-use games area for older children: Victoria Park has been renovated! Any comments to Derek, Charles or Atiqul.
Before I was a councillor, I worked in a school and I saw many children with family situations so distressing and disturbing that learning was the last thing on their minds. I strongly believe that, before we do anything else, we need to address the issue of family breakdown.
All the evidence shows that, in general, marriage is the best environment for raising children. If we want to help children in the long- term, we need to acknowledge this and stand up for marriage.
I believe that parents want the best for their children but sometimes don’t know what to do for the best. I want to encourage and support parents to take responsibility for their own children; to offer parenting advice as part of antenatal care; and to teach young people basic skills to enable them to become good parents themselves. The Children’s Centres in Salisbury are a key part of this.
Young people get a bad press these days. Some of it is justified, but certainly not all. I want to celebrate the achievements of our young people, to encourage them to contribute their energy and ‘out of the box’ thinking. I am also very keen to mix the generations – to enable young and old to meet each other - to their mutual benefit. Home-sharing is a bold initiative along these lines, which has been very successful.
The increasing percentage of our population who are ‘elderly’ is a challenge for providers of social and healthcare. It is also a great opportunity for us all. I am keen to encourage elderly people to share their wisdom and experience with other parts of the community. I also want to ensure that vulnerable elderly people are cared for, as much as possible, within the communities they know and love. I strongly believe that this is not solely the job of ‘the council’. It is a responsibility we all share.
The arts, libraries, museums, theatre, music and sport – these activities can make a real difference to individuals and to communities, building confidence and social skills and bringing together people from different backgrounds in a way that nothing else can. In the last few years, Salisbury has seen the arrival of new directors at our Arts Centre, Playhouse, Museum and International Arts Festival: innovative people with bold and exciting ideas. I want to support and help them to engage people, young and old, in the vibrant culture of Salisbury.
Vision for Salisbury
I have been on the Steering Group almost since its inception and am very keen to see the plans actually implemented; to see Salisbury take its place in the 21st century and so retain its unique character.
Many people are very concerned at the direction in which our society is heading. Government, national and local, can help but cannot, and should not, do it all. I want to encourage community groups, and the church in particular, to take their place in bringing about long-term change.