It was an honour to be nominated for the position of Haslemere Town Mayor yesterday evening at the Mayor Making meeting of Haslemere Town Council. I was nominated by a councillor colleague, Councillor Isabelle Cole. The nomination was unsuccessful. I am sorry that the meeting was not audible to residents who viewed the meeting online via the town council’s Facebook page. This is the text of her nomination:
I nominate Councillor Barton to be Haslemere’s next Mayor.
I am proud to be part of the British system of democracy – and it is my understanding of democracy that I as a Town Councillor must in local affairs represent the views of the people and be their voice.
I know that if they could vote in this Mayor-making, the person they would vote for would be the one who gained more votes than any other Town Councillor in the local election of 2019 – they would vote for Nikki Barton.
Without disrespect to Councillor Dear, who has been our deputy Mayor for the past 2 years, and also nominated, and though I recognise that he has readily organised local initiatives such as cleaning the public toilets and painting bike racks and bollards to smarten up the town, which have certainly made a difference it seems to me that these are things which only make a cosmetic difference.
The things that Councillor Barton has accomplished are things which make a significant difference, and which are recognised as such by the people of Haslemere – who hold her in high regard because of her achievements.
Nikki was elected to Surrey County Council in 2013, after being inspired by her own community-wide struggle to prevent parking meters being installed throughout Haslemere. Two years later she was elected as a Haslemere Town Councillor, and for the past 8 years she has served the town tirelessly across both councils.
Her achievements during this period are too many to list now, but I would like to mention a few:
She has established and chaired both the Haslemere Community Station and the Surrey Hills to South Downs Community Rail Partnership, winning Haslemere a National Network Rail award for most improved station and I had the privilege of working alongside her on behalf of the Arts Society
In response to the Covid crisis, she introduced fresh fruit and vegetables to the Haslemere Food Bank, winning funding from Waitrose to do so, at the same time as being an active founder member of the Haslemere Community Store.
She was in the initial Covid “Haslemere Help” core team and she set up the Pharmacy Home Delivery Service.
As Haslemere’s Surrey representative, Nikki secured funding from Surrey Highways for many projects across Haslemere and Grayswood, including:
-> major road resurfacing
-> new crossings outside Woolmer Hill, and Shottermill Infants School
-> and an upgraded path by Weydown car park, as part of a new safe network for pedestrians and cyclists
-> a lollipop lady for Grayswood School- again I worked alongside Nikki on this
She played a lead role in the successful campaign to save the The Hunter Centre for people with Alzheimer’s disease
And she successfully lobbied Surrey County Council to allow the outstanding Stepping Stones school to expand in Hindhead.
At the same time as achieving all of these things, Councillor Barton has also been active as:
-> a founder member of Haslemere Vision,
-> Haslemere’s representative on the Waverley Cycle Forum,
-> a School Governor at St Barts Primary School,
-> and a Safeguarding officer for Haslemere Hockey Club.
That is truly the story of a councillor who works tirelessly and selflessly for the people of Haslemere.
Nikki has also demonstrated a genuine concern and commitment to Sustainability, and to tackling the current Climate Crisis.
She served on the working party that wrote Surrey County Council’s climate change policy, and is an active member of our own Town Council Climate Emergency Working Party.
She engages regularly with the local community though the Haslemere Climate Collective, and has taken part in mass cycle rides through Haslemere.
And she led the support for Shottermill Infant School’s innovative green waste scheme – which won a Surrey County Council award by introducing “hot bins”, to compost school lunch waste instead of throwing it away.
As an Independent Councillor, Nikki has always put Haslemere’s residents and community groups first. Despite often facing criticism for speaking out, she has challenged the established ways of local politics, and has advanced the causes of local democracy and transparency.
She has been unafraid to call for more public scrutiny around issues, including:
-> Cuts to the fire service in our area,
-> Lack of adequate budgets for mental health provision in Surrey,
-> Party politics at the expense of the local community’s wishes.
Over many years, Nikki Barton has proven herself time and again to be a dedicated, hardworking and highly effective servant of our town- Nikki’s track record demonstrates her ability to bring different stakeholders together on a non- partisan basis to serve the community. I believe Nikki’s strengths as a positive, collaborative highly professional councillor would be a unifying force- bringing the council together for the benefit of the town.
As she steps down from Surrey County Council, she has more time to dedicate to the Town Council.
She would make a wonderful Mayor for the people of Haslemere, and I am very proud to nominate her.
Cllr Simon Dear (elected Mayor): was nominated by Jerome Davidson (Lib Dem) and Seconded- David Round (Cons)
Votes for Cllr Simon Dear:
Cllr Jean Arrick- Con
Cllr Jerome Davidson- Lib Dem
Cllr Simon Dear- Con
Cllr David Dullaway-Con
Cllr Brgitte Hewett- Con
Cllr Peter Isherwood- Con
Cllr Jacqui Keen- Lib Dem
Cllr Peter Nicholson- Lib Dem
Cllr Melanie Odell- Con
Cllr David Round – Con
Nikki Barton nominated by Isabelle Cole (LD), Seconded Gary Lloyd (Green)
Votes for Cllr Barton to be Mayor:
Cllr Nikki Barton- Independent
Cllr Isabelle Cole- Lib Dem
Cllr Kirsten Ellis- Independent
Cllr Gary Lloyd- Green
Cllr Claire Matthes- Green
Cllr Geoff Whitby- Lib Dem
Cllr Terry Weldon- Lib Dem abstained