Q&A: Sharon Taylor of Stevenage Borough Council

PUBLISHED: 16:20 15 February 2010 | UPDATED: 14:54 20 February 2013

Sharon Taylor

Sharon Taylor

Sharon Taylor, leader of Stevenage Borough Council, on England's 'first and best' new town, her lively kitten and seeing the lights of her home town

How old are you?
51 and hopefully growing old gracefully!

Tell us about your family.
I am a single parent and I am so proud of my three children. Anna, 29, my oldest daughter, is the corporate events manager for the Tate Gallery (mum is envious!), David, 27, is a mortgage underwriter and lives in Huntingdon. Alice is just 18 and an apprentice hairdresser. My dad and sisters all live in Stevenage still so we have a very close extended family.

Do you have any pets?
A 10-week-old black kitten called Tinkerbelle who is at the curtain climbing stage.

Where do you live?
I have always lived in Stevenage. Currently I live in Fairview Road which was in the ward I represent, Symonds Green. Now the boundary has been moved, I have to cross the road to get to Symonds Green!

How long have you lived there?
I moved to Symonds Green in 1975 when I got married. In those days you only had to wait two years to get a council house. I was very pleased to move back there from the other side of Stevenage when I was divorced in 1994.

What do you do for a living?
I have worked as a civilian for the police service for 13 years. I manage a fantastic team who support our senior police officers in the county. Before that I worked for John Lewis for eight years and before I had my children, for British Aerospace where I was a bilingual secretary.

How long have you been a councillor and when did you become leader of the council?
I was first elected to the council in a by-election in May 1997. It was the same day Labour achieved a landslide general election victory so it was very exciting. I became leader of the council in May 2006 when our previous leader, Brian Hall stepped down after 35 years.

What did it feel like to become the first female leader of Stevenage Borough Council?
I am very proud of Stevenage, it is a real privilege to lead the council. I don't think too much about being a female leader, there is a lot to be done and we need to listen to what Stevenage people want and get on with it. I said once that it is just like being a male leader but I do it in high heels! Comfortable shoes would be a bonus.

What is your favourite song or piece of music and why?
This is such a hard question, I always think about it when they ask on Desert Island Discs 'if you could only take one record'. I suppose, if it was only one, it would have to be Elgar's Nimrod from the Enigma Variations but how could I leave behind the Beatles, Beethoven, Maroon 5, Rachmaninov, Edith Piaf, Stevie Wonder etc?

Do you have any hidden talents?
Talents would be nice, never mind hidden ones. I can only claim passable French and legendary puddings.

Do you have any unfulfilled ambitions?
I have always, always wanted to play the piano - is it too late now?

Where are the best views to be had in Hertfordshire?
Fairlands Valley Lakes and our bluebell woods but my favourite view is as I come along the A1M into Stevenage and see the lights of my home town.

What is your favourite town in Hertfordshire and why?
I don't need to answer this do I? England's first new town, first and best.

Describe Hertfordshire in one sentence.
Our county is vibrant and green, a secret treasure on London's doorstep.

Article taken from the November issue of Hertfordshire Life

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