Council Matters: Terri Haynes

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Cllr Terri Haynes on one of her regular leaflet drops

Teacher Terri Haynes (38) was elected to Peterborough City Council as a Liberal Democrat member in May 2019 for Fletton and Stanground. She joined fellow Lib Dems Cllr James Lillis and Cllr Christian Hogg. She lives with partner Scott, who is also a teacher.

On Peterborough

I've lived in the Peterborough area for 10 years - I lived in Haddenham before moving here in 2010.

I previously worked at a school in Whittlesey and Peterborough seemed like a fun place when I was growing up - I used to come here with my boyfriend for a bit of a change. I then lived in Turnstone Way, then Yaxley, then two places in Gunthorpe. I couldn't find anywhere in the ward to live after the election, so I'm now in Hampton.

I teach four days a week, which allows me time to be a councillor, and I'm also a science tutor two evenings a week. We have a day job and I'm not sure if people realise that! I worked at a secure unit in Grantham for three years, which I had to leave because of a back operation. I now teach in Hinchingbrooke.

On joining the Lib Dems

I joined the party after the EU referendum, but not quite for the same reasons most people did. I thought we would be more prosperous in the EU, but the result was what it was.

I saw on the news about people being abused who had done nothing wrong, and thought 'how has it come to that?' And then I considered the fact that I was always moaning - so why not get off my backside and do something about it?

I spoke to one resident here who had suffered abuse but said they didn't know what they were going to do. EU residents aren't always as engaged as you think they will be - they were resigned to leaving, and that's maybe because no-one stands up for them.

On the election

I was really pleased and it was nice for all of that hard work to lead to something - it's an honour that people have put a cross next to your name.

The hard work started straight after that as you're being pulled in three different directions; what your residents want from you, your party wants from you, and your council wants from you.

Residents don't care about committees throughout the year - I have to go into one meeting to discuss the agenda, and then a meeting about what questions should be asked in the meeting, and then the meeting itself. It all takes time - are we helping anyone with this process?

After getting elected you just think: now what? You've built up an expectation but the pause button is almost on. Of course we then had the by-election - not in my 'bit', but it still took people away [from council matters].  

Then there was the EU elections, then we were closed over August, and then the general election in December. Residents think that if they don't see you doing stuff you're doing nothing. They think we've not been bothered - we wanted to say that we absolutely are doing stuff. 

Cllr Terri Haynes

On speeding on Fletton High Street

The speed at which some vehicles go over the bridge is a joke.

If I was a resident of the road it would wind me up - I was there this morning and they were flying up there - but getting change is going to be hard. We do speed watches but there are rules about where we can be. 

The parking is also dreadful around here - we've got verge parking banned, but people just ignore it and they go into terrible condition in the winter.

We do consultations, and then the council has to do one, but then you might not get the support from all the residents to make the change - and you have to explain that to the ones who complained why nothing has happened

On Tenter Hill Meadow

We want it protected as green and have held a meeting about it, which we are following up, but it's a long drawn-out process.

It's important because the ward is short of green spaces. We have been in touch with PECT about the planting of trees in the space.

But it's a very built-up ward - a resident complained to me about the number of houses being builtin the area that are the sizes of postage stamps. 

On littering and flytipping

The city centre has improved massively and we're moving towards that European cafe culture. Unfortunately you don't have to go far to find areas that are perhaps less nice and that is a concern - there is a problem with flytipping for example.

A task and finish group has been set up to look at this - perhaps one free collection a year for residents might help slow flytipping? It's sad to see so much of it. I heard two young guys the other day who I think were Dutch, speaking about how clean Amsterdam is in comparison to Peterborough.

I did a litter pick on Sunday  - I drove past flats that I'd been past again afterwards and there was already litter scattered there. I just thought "come on guys, give us a chance". Why are there Haribo packs and Stella cans scattered around there?

Cllr Haynes carries out regular surgeries at Stanground Library

On the unsuccessful appeal over Hampton Water Faith School

We are very disappointed for residents about the decision. It was very difficult to challenge an issue when the standards expected of the council are so low in terms of the quality of consultation and the fact that they are entitled to ignore residents' feelings.

The facts spoke for themselves and other members and officers shared our concerns about the 80/20% oversubscription policy but the decision could only be reversed if they felt that the council had not carried out the process of making the decision properly. The bar was set very low.

On the environment

There's a real reliance on cars - we seem to be a car city and perhaps always will be. Electric cars are not the answer - they need deep sea divers to uncover some of the metals used in these cars, such as cobalt. Public transport is more of an answer, but some people have concerns over safety. There really is no easy solution.

On her other interests

I'm learning to crochet as I got a kit for Christmas. My partner and I are National Trust members. Also I'm off to Chernobyl later this year - it's the perfect mix of politics and science.

On why she does it

When I get a resident who thanks me for my hard work, and when you are working towards something worthwhile, it gives you a real sense of achievement. I just want to be as useful as I can be and the best I can be, so I can look back and say "I did that".