A Resident Councillor
Liz Harsant was elected Councillor in 2002 to represent Holywells Ward and in 2004 became Leader of Ipswich Borough Council, in a joint administration (Conservatives /Lib Dems) for 6½ years. Amongst other things, community spirit is one of the reasons that Liz writes for Waterfront Life.
One of the most rewarding parts of being a Councillor is meeting, getting to know and helping the people you were elected to represent. When I first became a Councillor, I started a Residents Meeting in a local coffee shop. It was great and the residents seemed happy that I was interested in their concerns. One of the most taxing times was when the Duke Street roundabout was removed and access to parts of the Waterfront became very difficult. We held large meetings in the University with the Cabinet member for Roads & Transport from Suffolk County Council in attendance. Believe me this was not a happy meeting. For me this was probably one of the worst sides of being a Councillor and almost unsolvable. I still have residents talking about it.
Our monthly meetings have continued and the issues raised are usually about roads, transport and anti-social behaviour. I am able to report back to the police with residents’ concerns by email or at our local Neighbourhood Police meetings. Officers from both the Borough and County are happy to attend when there are big issues affecting the area, as does our MP Ben Gummer. I also meet with residents in Back Hamlet who also have some really difficult issues. A large part of my Ward is the Rivers Estate and I use the Stable Block Café in Holywells Park as a venue to meet these residents.
All in all being a Councillor is very rewarding; sometimes very upsetting when you are involved with the personal circumstances of some residents with very difficult and emotional issues, but when you can help there is a feeling of great achievement.
Most residents know I have moved from Salisbury Road where I lived for 40 years, but after my husband died and then my beloved dog, I had to make that decision. I love my Ward and am very involved in many of the Clubs and events that go on. I am always happy to help just ring (01473 232830 / 07789 684153) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) me.