Anita Smith elected as the new Chair of Nailsea Town Council

Nailsea Town Council elected Councillor Anita Smith as its new chair at the meeting of the Town Council on Wednesday 13 December 2023. Anita is delighted to have been elected by her councillor colleagues and is looking forward to increasing communication with residents. Anita was elected after Mike Bird, the previous Chair, stepped down this month down after nearly 3 years in the role. Having served 2 years, Mike stayed in the role after the May elections to help ensure continuity following the election of many new councillors. With many work commitments coming next year he felt it was time to pass on the baton.

Artist and wedding official Anita has lived in Nailsea since the late 60s and went to the Pound Lane Junior School and Nailsea School before going on to Weston College. She moved away to work in London and the Canada before returning home 28 years ago and has lived in Nailsea ever since. Her family also live in Nailsea.

With a background in banking Anita worked at the Police HQ in Portishead for 20 years before retiring 2017 but she still finds time to act as a Ceremonies Officer officiating at weddings for the Somerset Registration Service. Anita is a commissioned artist working with mosaic and willow and a member of the North Somerset Arts Society. She also represents the town council on the Forces Covenant – the multi-agency group supporting ex-forces personnel and she sits as a town council adviser on the North Somerset Standards Committee when it meets to discuss specific standards’ issues.

She says “My Dad (Brian Millward) was a councillor for many years. I became a councillor as I believe in putting back into society by volunteering and I wanted to invest my time in my own community.”

“When I was co-opted onto Nailsea Town Council in 2019, this was my first experience of local government and how it works. I had relatively little idea of what the Council had decision-making control over and I honestly thought it was more – especially regarding planning, potholes and town centre rejuvenation! I now understand what our power limitations are, but that does not mean we don’t have a voice. We need to look at how we can better collaborate with North Somerset Council in getting the best deal for Nailsea, but also holding them to account for their responsibilities. Our four district councillors can assist with that and act as a conduit between the two councils to ensure that Nailsea is not left out. We need better communication with Nailsea residents so they can see what we are trying to achieve on their behalf. As a town council we are responsible for how we spend the money we get via the council tax and we need to explain better how we spend that money and we need to show that we are doing that efficiently and effectively.”

She continues “We have a large amount of money to spend on Nailsea from the sale of land at Engine Lane and other monies – I want to see that spent wisely. I know that there has been consultation with residents, but we now need to progress this at pace.’