When you first become a Councillor, apart from the great honour and excitement you feel; it changes your life completely. Suddenly, residents are asking you for help some with very private and sad issues; others asking for help on matters that involve perhaps a whole area.
When I was first elected back in 2002, one of the biggest issues that came to light was a planning application for building on the area known as ‘the Woodland’ off Mitre Way. This application and subsequent ones failed, which was purely because the residents came together to fight the applicant, and even this year we have been successful again.
In Holywells Ward we have had some really testing issues over the years: traffic lights at the top of Bishops Hill; the proposed large bridge so close to Cliff Lane and still ongoing; a proposal to put a supermarket where Holmes Oak Court is now right next to the Park; not cutting the grass along Nacton and Clapgate Lane and many more. So working together, the ‘Power of the People’ is a very successful tool.
Often, services are improved in the area you represent because of your work with the community - pavements, grass cutting, road improvements (including calming measures), parking issues, the need for more buses, bus shelters, more police: the list is endless. Councillors just have to be persistent!
In Holywells Ward, Associated British Ports (ABP) is very important. Not only does it employ local people, it plays a big part in the community. This is also the case with the University and Suffolk New College: having students living amongst us is a great asset locally and for the rest of the town. It is also important to involve local businesses, restaurants and to promote local charities in their work in the town and in the Ward you represent.
I have to say over the 16 years I have been a Councillor, I have found residents are keen to improve their local areas and to help where they can by taking part in community events. I have also found that the schools, churches, Friends Groups, charities, Community Interest Companies and businesses all pull together when there is a need and I have been very proud to help and to represent them and the residents in Holywells Ward.