Q+A: Meet Herts County Council's youngest councillor Tina Bhartwas

Letchworth county councillor Tina Bhartwas is the youngest person elected to Herts County Council at age 19

Letchworth county councillor Tina Bhartwas is the youngest person elected to Herts County Council at age 19 - Credit: Supplied

Letchworth North county councillor Tina Bhartwas has made a big impact as the youngest person elected to Herts County Council at 19 years old.

As part of our new series of Q+As with local figures, we spoke to Tina about what she loves most about living in Letchworth.

How would you best describe your job or role in the community?

I am a newly elected county councillor representing Letchworth North on Hertfordshire County Council. I am also a trustee at the North Herts and Stevenage Centre for Voluntary Service.

How long have you lived in Letchworth?

I was raised in Letchworth since birth and grew up here, going to the local Hillshott Infant School and Pixmore Junior Schools. I’m very proud to live here today and it is the privilege of my life to represent my community and the town that I call my home.

What is your favourite landmark in the area?

The fountain in Broadway Gardens, Letchworth

The iconic Letchworth fountain in Broadway Gardens - Credit: Archant

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I have quite a few but I would say the water fountain in Broadway Gardens. I have many fond memories of playing in that area, including a particular memory of playing with a large inflatable football alongside other children under the supervision of my beloved uncle, who has since passed away.

What local shops do you most like to visit?

David's Bookshop in Letchworth will be hosting an online author event with Kathleen Whyman on May 27

David's Bookshop is one of Tina's favourite local shops - Credit: David's Bookshop

I love visiting David’s and could easily spend hours there browsing classics and bestseller fiction, the stunning pieces by Vanessa Stone of places around our town, the music and the coffee shop. I also love the gorgeous hand crafted crystal candles sold by Soul Dust Apothecary.

What is your favourite place to go out to eat?

There are so many wonderful places to eat in Letchworth. I really love Vutie Beets and Miss Green Fingers for lunch. A new favourite is the Chai Room. I would recommend Grapevine for dinner which has been a favourite of mine for a while. After later meetings I can often be found in Cultivo Lounge which has a fantastic relaxed atmosphere.

Vutie Beets in Letchworth has received a huge amount of support from the community as it offers free

Vutie Beets restaurant in Letchworth - Credit: Archant

What is your favourite pub?

My favourite pub is Crafty's. I really enjoy the atmosphere and location, particularly when they have live music. I also like to unwind with a glass of wine at La Concha, especially after a commute.

Letchworth BID manager Chris Wilson and Crafty's owner Ian Eddleman on the big reopening day, April

Crafty's pub in Letchworth at its reopening after lockdown - Credit: Georgia Barrow

What do you think makes Letchworth unique?

I think Letchworth Garden City is unique in its history; the garden city principle and the bringing together of people makes it an incredibly special place to live, work or visit.

What places in Letchworth would you most recommend to visitors?

There's so many! The Discover Letchworth Centre and adjoining museum is really interesting and tells the story of our town. I was making recommendations to a friend recently and picked out Standalone farm and Bickerdikes Garden Centre. I would also recommend the beautiful art deco Broadway Cinema and studio and gallery if you enjoy art. Talking of beautiful buildings, be sure to take a look at the Stunning Spirella building. I would also recommend Norton Common and our wonderful green way if you like walks.

Discover Letchworth opened its door for the first time on Saturday. Picture: Letchworth Garden City

The Discover Letchworth Centre - Credit: Archant

Who is your local hero?

The many often forgotten pioneers; female campaigners, practitioners and politicians who worked to make the vision of a garden city a reality. I would recommend reading the Town and Country Planning Association report on this. On the topic of history, suffragettes Jane Short and Annie Kenney lived here.

What would you do if you were mayor for a day?

Plant a community orchard to promote mental health awareness to combat loneliness, and have that as a open space for local people, regardless of background, to come together.

What impact do you think COVID-19 has had on Letchworth?

It has been a very difficult time. I have been heartened by the way in which the community has come together, for example voluntary groups helping each other and businesses have supported local people stepping up to feed hungry children. I attended the recent Food and Drink Festival which I think was an encouraging step for local businesses and people. I would like to encourage everyone to shop and support local to boost the local economy.

And finally, what do you love most about Letchworth?

Letchworth has this magnificent community spirit and that is why I’m proud to call it my home.

If you would like to take part or nominate someone you know from our areas for a Q&A, email anne.suslak@archant.co.uk.