It has been a privilege to represent the residents of Leighton Buzzard South on Central Bedfordshire Council, and the residents of Brooklands ward on the Town Council, since 2011.
Of my achievements over the past 8 years, I consider my work to help individual residents to be the most important. While the bigger issues like policing, local infrastructure and the like make the headlines, it is through helping residents with the problems that directly impact on their day to day lives where I feel I have had the biggest impact on the local community.
If re-elected, helping residents with their invidudual concerns and problems will continue to be my priority.
However, this does not mean that I have ignored the bigger issues – local policing is a massive concern to residents across the town, and during my time as a local Councillor I have been at the forefront of the town’s fight for a fairer share of police resources.
Several years ago I organised a petition that gained over 5000 signatures, calling on the PCC to provide a permanent police presence and more warranted police officers in the town. More recently, I instigated a public meeting with representatives of Bedfordshire Police to give local residents a chance to voice their concerns.
Whilst we are now seeing some progress with the promise of additional officers for the town, I will not give up until we see a permanent police presence and a ‘police counter’ where local residents can readily access the local community policing team.
In my first term as a Councillor, I secured ‘fields in trust’ status for Pages Field, preventing any development of this valuable green site. Working with residents of The Vynes, Richmond Road and Weston Avenue, I was able to block the sale of this land by the Town Council, and to get it protected for future generations.
I want to see all of the town’s parks and green spaces protected for the enjoyment of local residents. The Town Council has excelled in its management of our parks, gaining green flags for Parsons Rec, Pages Park and the cemetery, and if re-elected I will support investment in these valuable community spaces.
I, together with my fellow LB South Councillors Ray Berry and David Bowater, successfully fought for a Community Centre for Astral Park. After years’ of delays and missed opportunities, we secured additional funding to allow a proper community centre to be built for the residents of Billington Park and Sandhills. The ‘Astral Park Sports and Community Centre’ has become an integral part of the local community in southern Leighton Buzzard, providing local residents with a place to meet and hold events, local sports teams with a base, and the whole town with a first class venue.
As a Central Bedfordshire Council, I have for a number of years served as a Deputy Executive Member in the Children’s Services team, with a particular interest in services for children with additional needs and in local authority care. One of the most rewarding aspects of this has been working closely with Social Workers and other professionals as a member of the Fostering Panel, approving prospective foster parents and placements.
I was delighted to work with CBC officers to secure improved allowances for our foster carers, to ensure they were able to provide some of our most vulnerable children with a stable home environment.
It has been a great privilege to co-Chair the CBC Corporate Parenting Panel with some of our looked after children. To work closely with these children and young adults has been extremely rewarding, and has clearly demonstrated the commitment of our social workers and foster parents.
As the parent of a child with ASD, the needs of our young people will always be very close to my heart, and I am committed to ensuring that all of our children are given the best opportunities in life.
Like many of you, I have not welcome the rapid expansion of the town, and I have spoken out against it at every opportunity. However, the sad reality has been that very little could be done to stop it, but together with my colleagues, I have done everything possible to mitigate the impact of these developments.
One notable achievement was to secure a ‘green corridor’ along the route of the Leighton Buzzard Narrow Gauge Railway, to preserve its unique character and to prevent development close to this historical line.
The lack of supporting infrastructure for these new developments is a significant concern. All of your Conservative candidates for LB South – Ray Berry, David Bowater and myself – have worked hard to get significant commitments from developers. We are also delighted at the promise of a new leisure centre and swimming pool as part of the eastern development.
When you vote on Thursday, I hope you will judge me on what I have done for the local community in my 8 years as a Councillor.