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27th May, 2022

'It's like the longest job interview ever' - delight for Sharon Harvey

Ross Crawford 13th May, 2022

IT was the local elections last week and as with all elections there were winners and losers.

We speak to two of them – now it’s Labour’s Sharon Harvey

“I’M really please – but I worked hard – people believed in me and now I’ve got to deliver” – that was the verdict of brand new Redditch Borough Councillor Sharon Harvey shortly after hearing she had retained Central Ward for Labour by a massive 361 votes from the Conservative candidate Ummar Memi.

Coun Harvey, who lives in Southcrest, replaces Labour’s outgoing stalwart Debbie Chance, and by the following Tuesday her in-tray was already beginning to fill, but she was happy to reflect on her road to victory.

“I’ve had so many lovely messages of support, but it’s like the longest job interview ever and come election night……

“I lost last year when I stood in Winyates and (Councillor) Luke Court won by a landside so I feel for people like Mike Rouse who has worked so hard for four years doing things, but he at least still has his county council role to do.

“For me, I just want to get started.”

On the doorstep she said the number one issue was the future of Redditch Library.

“No one was really interested in party gate and whatever the Prime Minister was up to or even the cost of living, even when we were out delivering leaflets people would come up to us and say ‘what do you think about the library?’,” said Coun Harvey.

The library building has been earmarked for demolition by the controlling Conservative group and the borough’s Towns Fund Board, with the likelihood being that the library function would transfer to Redditch Town Hall.

But Coun Harvey said: “No one thinks demolishing the library is a good idea.

“The question is what can we as a group do about it – well we have the County Council’s Overview and Scrutiny which will be considering it but until we see some actual plans, because there aren’t any at the moment, it’s hard to no what is going on.”

She added: “Frankly its the Tories’ own fault for not being open about this.

“Take the Towns Fund Board, we said there should be cross party representation but they wanted to keep it for themselves.

“It’s like a closed door club.

“The public just do not know what is going on and I think they would have had a much better response to their plans if they’d been more open about them.

“Personally I think they know the library was a local election issue but they’ve chosen to blame national issues for losing seats.

“It’s disappointing.”

However, as well as the library building, there are plenty of other issues claiming Coun Harvey’s attention.

“I’ve already been contacted about fly tipping, and also about the state of the bandstand on Church Green, and both will be getting my full attention,” she said.


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