Who’d be a local councillor…..?
Terri Reid moved into a new house in Centurion Way, Hatch Warren, over twenty years ago with her husband Stephen and two years old son Daniel. Her daughter, Rebecca, was born shortly after. Today both children are at university; Dan is at Guildford doing a PhD in chemistry while Rebecca is at Winchester working on a Masters in Creative Writing.
Terri, herself, graduated from Winchester three years ago with a Masters degree in Cultural and Arts Management. Terri explained, “I have always had a great interest in the arts and worked for a while for the Hampshire Museum Service based at Milestones museum and the Willis museum in the Market Square. With a colleague we developed the concept of dressing and acting period tableaux. This ultimately led to us forming Pedlars and Petticoats, an historic interpretation company offering storytelling and bespoke costumed events for heritage sites, museums and schools”.
Because of her local knowledge gained in bringing up two children in Hatch Warren she was encouraged to stand as a Conservative candidate in the local elections four years ago.
”I was somewhat pressured into standing as it was felt by others that I had more than a little idea of what local politics involved since my husband Stephen had been a ward councillor for many years, these days serving as a Cabinet member on Hampshire County Council. After being re-elected last May I was appointed as the Cabinet member with the twin portfolios for Housing and Regeneration with special emphasis on the Top of the Town. And for the second year I was appointed Conservative Group Leader.”
The Cabinet meets every few weeks and is the major decision making body within the borough. It is made up of the Leader and six other Conservative councillors, the borough chief executive and various officers attend, and is the executive of the council. Then there are the group Leaders’ meetings Terri attends with the Leaders from the other political parties, namely Labour, Liberal Democrats, Independents and Ukip. As Leaders they act as conduits of opinion to and from members of their own groups.
“As the holder of the Housing portfolio it has meant that I have had to guide and lead through a revision of the Housing Allocation Policy which reduced the five areas of qualification with various points scoring down to three with clearer criteria.” The waiting list for social housing is held by the council who work with the various housing associations to allocate housing to those that meet the criteria set out in the new policy.
The Regeneration portfolio has meant that Terri is responsible for changes deemed necessary to the Top of the Town to make it more attractive and therefore encourage increased footfall to benefit all the traders in this historic area.
“One policy that has been successful is that of matched funding to assist business owners improve the appearance of their properties and I am pleased that up to a dozen premises have been awarded grants up to £4,000.”
As well as the recent relaying of the Market Square other improvements will be new planters and signage and cleaning of all the benches. A very recent decision for which Terri has Cabinet approval is to deep clean all the old alleyways that lead to London Street and Winchester Street from the car park Yards in New Road. This will also include redecoration and improved lighting.
As group Leader she has to keep the other Conservative councillors informed of all the things that matter from her many meetings she has with officers of the council and various committees, all of which takes considerable time and effort. Terri is at the Civic offices most days and all the day. Then there are the main council meetings and committees in the evening and some go on late with a recent one not finishing until 11.30 pm.
“My normal work as one of the three ward councillors for Hatch Warren and Beggarwood continues apace and I have to be involved with matters that local residents bring to my attention. I am on the Anaerobic Digester Liaison Panel which has received coverage about vehicles using either the wrong route or the wrong times, the traffic calming chicanes that some drivers consider dangerous as it forces them on to the wrong side of the road, but the major source of irritation has been the recent changes to the bus timetables and routes.” Discussions with both the county council and the bus company have resulted in some small amendments. However the major problem is the inability of both councils to financially support the bus company since budgets have been severely curtailed.
It would take the Wisdom of Solomon to solve all the problems that a councillor has to deal with, and there are few people who would take on the task. In Terri Reid there exists an indomitable spirit for which we should be thankful, of doing her very best for our ward and the Basingstoke area in general.