Labour-controlled Stevenage council inaugurates Conservative mayor

Councillor Margaret Notley is the mayor of Stevenage for 2018/19. Picture: Stevenage Borough Council

Councillor Margaret Notley is the mayor of Stevenage for 2018/19. Picture: Stevenage Borough Council - Credit: Archant

Stevenage’s new mayor for 2018/19 has taken office – and, unusually, she is a councillor from the opposition benches.

Councillor Margaret Notley, who represents Woodfield ward for the Conservatives on the Labour-controlled borough council, was inaugurated as the new mayor at the authority’s annual meeting last night.

She said: “I am delighted to serve as mayor and will use the opportunity to support the many local groups that work to make Stevenage an even better place and such a strong community.”

During her year in office, the mayor will be supporting the charities Carers in Hertfordshire, Stevenage District Scouts and TRACKS autism.

“As well as backing the important work of my chosen charities, who support young people and carers in different ways, I will attend as many events as possible,” she said.

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“Although it will no doubt be a hectic year, I’m really looking forward to it.”

The mayor first came to Stevenage with her parents in 1956, and originally lived in Longmeadow. She married David Notley in 1975 and moved to Symonds Green.

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Daughter Louisa was born in 1978, with son Peter following in 1981 – and both went to Woolenwick school, where Margaret is a governor.

She was first elected as a councillor for Symonds Green ward, serving from 1992 to 1996. After her husband died she took a step back from politics until she was elected as a councillor for Woodfield in 2000.

As chair of Symonds Green Community Association, the mayor has been active in her local area for many years. She is also a strong supporter of the town’s international links, as a member of the Stevenage-Ingelheim-Autun Twinning Association and the Stevenage-Kadoma Link Association.

Most of her working life was in the jewellery trade, starting with making jewellery in London’s Hatton Garden, and finishing in a jewellery shop in Stevenage Old Town.

At the same meeting, Councillor Simon Speller of Pin Green ward was inaugurated as deputy mayor, and 15-year-old volunteer ambulance cadet Ugonno ‘Ugo’ Umunnakwe was confirmed as Stevenage youth mayor.

Ugo said: “My aim as youth mayor is to address what I think are the main concerns of young people, focussing especially on education and crime. I have been granted a great opportunity to make a positive impact on young people: they have trusted to represent them and I will not let them down.”

Councillor Sharon Taylor will be continuing for another term as council leader, and said: “I’m pleased to welcome Ugo into the role of youth mayor.

“Young people have an important role to play in the life of our town – now and in the future – and Ugo has some good ideas about how they can increase their involvement and influence. I look forward to working with him this year.”

Councillor Joan Lloyd has been appointed to be Ms Taylor’s deputy, while councillors James Fraser and Robin Parker remain leaders of the Conservative and Liberal Democrat groups respectively.

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