Shirley to stand down after 36 years as councillor
COMMUNITY champion Shirley Potts will stand down in the May local elections after 36 years as a councillor.
Cllr Potts has represented the ward of Staple Hill since South Gloucestershire Council was set up in 1996, fighting tirelessly for a better deal for people living in the ward.
Prior to that she was a councillor for Soundwell under the old Kingswood District Council.
The Labour stalwart grew up in Barton Hill but moved to Staple Hill in 1972.
Shirley's achievements are numerous - she helped set up Christmas on the Hill, Staple Hill Regeneration Partnership and Friends of Page Park as well as campaigning on local issues like bus services and facilities for young people.
In recognition of her service, Cllr Potts was awarded a British Empire Medal in the Queen's Birthday Honours List this year.
Cllr Potts will step down at the end of April 2019, prior to the local elections on Thursday May 2.
Cllr Potts said: "It will be with a feeling of sadness but also of gratitude that I step down as a councillor for Staple Hill after serving for thirty six years.
"I would like to thank those wonderful residents who through their support of the campaigning and the setting up of community projects have helped to improve the quality of life of people in Staple Hill. Finally I would like to say that I have valued the friendliness of our constituents, their understanding and humour in the face of difficulties.
"It has been an honour to be their councillor."
The elections will see revised boundaries and the number of elected council representatives reduced from 70 to 61.
The current Staple Hill and Rodway wards are to be scrapped and will be known as the ward of Staple Hill and Mangotsfield.
The Labour Party has just announced its candidates for the new ward - existing Staple Hill councillor Ian Boulton, existing Rodway councillor Michael Bell and campaigner Katie Cooper.
Cllr Boulton, who has represented the ward of Staple Hill alongside Cllr Potts since 2011 and stood as the Labour candidate for Filton and Bradley Stoke in the 2010 and 2015 general elections, said: "It feels like a genuine privilege to serve our community as a South Gloucestershire councillor. I’m absolutely delighted that I have been chosen as a candidate again and hope that I can continue in my efforts to make Staple Hill, and now also Mangotsfield, an even better place for us all to live."
Cllr Bell said he felt "privileged" to have been selected. He said: "I have worked hard serving the residents of Rodway ward since 2011 and will continue with the same commitment if elected."
Foster carer Katie Cooper who lives in Downend said: "I am really proud to have been selected to represent Labour. Shirley Potts has been a great local councillor and has set a really high standard for representing the local community. I am really looking forward to the challenge."
Cllr Potts, who hopes to still be active in the community after standing down, congratulated the trio on their selection: "I know that they are keen to promote our community and serve the people and I wish them every success in the forthcoming election," she said.
The boundary shake-up will also see the ward of Downend disappear, as will Frenchay and Stoke Park, to make way for the new ward of Frenchay and Downend.