Meeting our new town councillor

Published on: 25 Feb 2016

Can you introduce yourself to the readers?
I’m Joanne Ward, Filton’s newest town councillor following a by-election in Northville ward last month.

How long have you lived in Filton?
I moved to Filton five and a half years ago with my husband and son looking for a place to live which had a strong community and good facilities for children and families.

What do you do for a living?
I work as an office manager and parliamentary assistant.  Previously I’ve worked for a local college, local charities and government agencies in Bristol and Cheltenham.

Why did you get into politics?
I’ve always been interested in politics and I’m an active member of the Labour party but what really interests me is making sure that local people have a say in decisions that affect their lives every day.  My fellow councillors bring a wealth of experience and expertise and, whilst I want to represent people across Filton, I’m particularly keen to ensure that the voices of parents and young people are heard.

Why do you like living in Filton?
Filton is a good place to live and a good place to bring up children.  I love having a pool, parks and a great library on my doorstep.

What are the biggest issues facing Filton?
Cuts that are happening nationally are now being felt at a local level.  Facilities such as our library are at risk of closure and, whilst it’s easy to take facilities for granted, in the current climate we can’t.

What will you try to do about it?
When decisions are made at a town council level I will represent the views of residents and, if people value facilities or services, I will do all I can to keep them. At other times, decisions will be made by South Gloucestershire Council. In those circumstances I will support our South Gloucestershire Labour Councillors.

A big talking point is the future of the swimming pool - is it a service which might cost the taxpayer or should it be profitable or at least break even?
I understand that the pool was built by the people of Filton and is therefore owned by the people of Filton.  My own view is that we should be very proud of the pool.  It provides health and leisure opportunities for residents and is used by local schools to teach our children to swim; potentially a life-saving skill.  
In my role as town councillor I’m interested to find out how residents feel about the pool and I will take an active role in discussions about its future.

Election result, Northville ward, Filton Town Council:
Joanne Ward, Labour, 28 votes
Alan Booth, Conservative, 198 votes
Anthony Summerhayes, UKIP, 89 votes
Electorate 3235
Votes cast 515, turnout 16%

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