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A Year of Satisfaction

June 4, 2020 3:36 PM

Spelthorne Liberal Democrat Councillor Chris Bateson (Spelthorne Borough Council)Liberal Democrat Councillor Chris Bateson reviews his first year representing residents in Staines South Ward

How time flies!

First success

A year ago, in May 2019, along with my colleague Nichola Cornes, we were privileged to be the first Liberal Democrats to be elected in Staines in history. We worked hard - not just at election time, but for over two years before the election communicating our message about why we wanted the Council to be run differently. We were rewarded with a huge vote of confidence from residents in our Staines South Ward attaining 44% of the total vote.

Second success

We then set about the task at hand and soon discovered just how much work lay ahead of us. Our first issue was to continue to give our support to those who had fought so vigorously and passionately against the building of the new Leisure Centre on Staines Park. An issue that had become so contentious with residents who were determined to see such a plan halted in its tracks. Thankfully "the people have spoken loud and clear" won the day. The Tory-led Council, despite wasting much money in a flawed consultation to justify the proposal, backtracked and abandoned Staines Park as an option.

Third success

To ensure the Park was protected for future generations, steps were taken to protect it in trust. An important victory for local people against those who felt they knew best. We felt it appropriate after this victory was attained to use some of our Councillor Neighbourhood Grant, to fund a new noticeboard which will allow Community events to be widely advertised to enhance usage of the Park. It's hoped to install this in the coming weeks.
Both myself and Nichola used the balance of the Grant money to fund workshops for Spelthorne Youth. Fantastic volunteer work is carried out to provide a forum that young people 10 to 18 can meet and undertake a wide range of activities. We have been very keen to support such a worthwhile cause for young people in the Borough, at a time when continued funding is under threat

Fourth success

Hardly a month had passed when I became involved in one of many Housing-related issues. Despite the massive surge in home ownership with former Council-built properties, there still remains a substantive amount of housing that is Association-owned. For tenants in this situation, we are often called upon to intervene on their behalf - for whatever the reason. Usually, this is what is perceived as an undue delay to get repair work carried out, but as was the case in one instance this was a far more serious problem involving dampness and all it entails health-wise. We were asked to intervene and this resulted in success on behalf of those involved. Fantastic to know we really did make a difference.

Other successes

Other approaches in our first year covered a range of issues from school pupil placements, overhanging trees, pavements, road repairs, boundary disputes and light and noise intrusion/pollution.
We have prided ourselves on being accessible, by way of email, telephone or face-to-face at our monthly surgeries held in Staines Library on the first Saturday of each month. Covid restrictions have not made this possible since March but we look forward to their resumption later in the year once we come out of what has been and remains, a very traumatic and stressful time for so many people.

So, to sum up, it has been a busy and eventful first year, but one that has been both interesting and enjoyable. It has brought many rewards with some disappointments. It is satisfying to know that being around has made a difference to many and a sense of pride and satisfaction knowing we have tried our very best to contribute to our community.

As someone who has recently retired from full-time work after 46 years in the same occupation, I look forward more than ever to continue on the path we have set ourselves to serve our Ward Residents in the best possible way in the months and years ahead.

We'd love to hear from you:

Contact me, Chris Bateson, on 07958 654204 or email sylvacfinder@hotmail.co.uk
or my Liberal Democrat colleague in Staines South, Nichola Cornes on 07980 204628 and nikki_cornes_uk@yahoo.com