Councillor, Uttlesford District Council / Chair of Scrutiny Committee / Member of Standards Committee / Member of Museum Management Working Group / Member of Infrastructure Delivery group / Member of Governance Review working group / Reserve Member of Planning Committee.
My involvement with local issues started by joining Great Chesterford Parish Council in 2012 and then in 2015 becoming Chair until elected to the District Council in 2019. My dealings with local authorities over the years have been an eye-opening and at times eye-watering introduction to local politics. One thing is absolutely clear to me: party politics has a corrosive effect and does not belong in local government.
As Chair of Scrutiny Committee I have led the investigations into and subsequent actions arising from three failed Local Plans, the Stansted Airport planning saga and negligence in the Housing Department at Uttlesford.
This ward and our neighbours continue to face unprecedented pressures: housing, roads, medical and social care for all ages, schools, a need to contribute to the climate change challenge. The list goes on. With a son and daughter at a local secondary school I am acutely aware of the pressures facing parents trying to educate their children within the community.
Decisions made by our council will have a profound effect on the quality of life in this area for many years to come. Those decisions need to be truly representative of the views and needs of residents, and made by people who are not driven by a party political machine.
I cannot promise you easy solutions to complex and long standing problems. I will however, promise you two things: an absolute commitment to act solely in the interests of the residents of this ward; and to ‘tell it like it is’. No soft-soaping, no evasiveness. I have no time for political tribalism. The best solutions are rarely found in party dogma.
I have worked for big business, small businesses, run my own business and served in the Royal Navy. From those life experiences I draw one lesson I would apply to Uttlesford District Council. “Do it properly!”