22 July 2023
It was a long wait while watching the counting of ballot papers and for the result for Portswood ward to be announced, just back in May. The outcome was a special surprise for Katherine Barbour who doubted it would mean success. Thankfully the close call between 3rd and 4th places didn’t affect Katherine’s triumph as she had secured the most votes and with them a four-year term as a Green Party councillor on Southampton City Council.
After the induction day and the election for Mayor (Cllr Valerie Laurent) at 17 May AGM, Cllr Katherine Barbour asked a question to the new administration about what impact the airport will have on meeting our Net Zero pledge for 2035 and how far along this road have we gone? This was a very appropriate question as Cllr Barbour had been included in a photo shoot with the local Code Red demonstrators prior to her 1st council meeting; the demonstrators were singing songs intended to alert the authority to our Climate Crisis.
Also, the dire economic climate has meant our council are calling for voluntary redundancies, cutting back on staff recruitment, and generally slashing spending where possible. Should the Government step in and bailout the council remains to be seen, but Katherine expects a section 114 notice to eventually be served and the council in effect declared insolvent, whereby only essential services will be kept maintained.
Prior to last Wednesday's full council meeting Katherine had met up with all three other political parties representing Southampton residents, something that she can report back to us soon.
So far Katherine has kept cool about the increase in her daily workload, which includes resident's case work, planning for strategy meetings and creating policy for the long term. Issues have ranged from flytipping, rubbish in front gardens, the removal of play equipment, buses, sewage, Portswood Broadway and of course potholes. Katherine is running a monthly surgery at St Denys Church which so far has not proved popular with residents. Most issues come through the councillor email or canvassing. Her top priority is for another Green to become elected where both councillors get the chance to move motions and become members of some council committees.
Meanwhile the daily business continues; working on helping to maintain people’s lives and fighting to preserve the ecosystems that ultimately mean our own lives can continue.
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