Since coming onto the Council, my eyes have been opened to the many challenges facing the city, and I am committed to seeing them through. Stoke-on-Trent needs bold, creative thinkers, and I want to build a City that its citizens can be proud of; where people want to live. Oh, and just to show I’m not bluffing, I moved into a house overlooking Stoke Town (or Stoke-upon-Trent, if you prefer) to be a part of the action.
Marketing this city is at the heart of everything I stand for, and I have been sowing seeds for a City-Wide Business, Creative Arts and Local Government Network that would stimulate growth and help create new jobs. Having Chaired the Mitchell Memorial Youth Arts Centre Committee, I have seen first-hand a project that will act as an exemplar for future generations, and inspire future projects across the City. Spode is at the very heart of regeneration for the area, and I have been part of the consultation for its future development, as well as speaking against the idea of a supermarket on this historical site.
Penkhull is a place I’ve known for a long time. I am involved in local youth work, where every week, we give kids the opportunity to gain positive input, as well as providing table tennis/pool facilities. Some of them attend Thistley Hough, which has had a lot of bad press over the years. When I visited last year to meet students, I was impressed by the Headmaster’s initiative to give £1000 of his budget to them to decide what to with! Such empowerment and trust is to be commended, and as a media and arts college, I want to work with them further. I have also started to work with elderly residents in the area, and am trying to understand their concerns better by engaging in conversation with them.
Travelling to Europe (on my own money), I have been looking at ways to use public space better to generate revenue, as well as a better, more affordable, transport system for the City. I believe that Stoke-on-Trent would benefit from a transport infrastructure which includes a bus service that people can afford and that helps deliver other services, both in terms of tourism and local business. The Oyster Card system in London is one such system I have been looking at.
I want Stoke not only to be a working city, but an attractive city, which can find its way boldly into the 21st Century. For too long, it has grieved the loss of traditional industries, and it’s time to look to alternative methods of revenue. This decision will take courage and perserverance, but I believe WE can make it happen. Setting competitive business rates for the area is a massive priority.
At 30, I am in a great position to inject renewed energy and vision into a City that is in need of change.