Shirley has become Middleton’s chairman

Shirley Haywood

Shirley Haywood

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CO-ORDINATED action is needed to ensure Middleton is safe from flooding.

The call for residents to work together has come from Middleton Parish Council’s new chairman.

Cllr Shirley Haywood was elected to the role at the annual meeting of the council in the first contested ballot for the position in well over a decade.

Speaking afterwards, she said her main aim for the coming year was to ensure work continued to protect residents from a repeat of the floods which devastated dozens of lives last June.

“What I can do is to encourage Southern Water and the Environment Agency to work together along with West Sussex County Council, as the highways authority, so we get a co-ordinated approach to the situation rather than a piecemeal approach,” she said. “We have a lot of individual estates.

“It would be a mistake if they worked all on their own in this matter. We have to have a consistent approach throughout the parish and I am sure we can do that.”

Cllr Mrs Haywood, 67, has lived in Middleton for about 12 years. She works for a development company based in East Sussex.

She has been a parish councillor for some five years and has been involved in the community helping the WRVS in Chichester.

“I’m proud of people who give up their time volunteering to help others,” she said. “Middleton has a very good parish council. Most of them have been there for quite a few years.

“Hopefully, we can work together well. They come from all walks of life, which is just as it should be.

“Although Middleton and Elmer is a retirement area, there are quite a few younger people as well. We do have some younger people on the council, which is good.”

Cllr Mrs Haywood took over from Cllr Paul Wotherspoon after a signed ballot at the council’s annual meeting earlier this month (May).

Cllr Wootherspoon had been chairman since May 1999. The position of vice-chairman was also contested. Another signed ballot produced a drawn result. Cllr Matthew Copeland, the vice-chairman, stood down in favour of Cllr Terry Claxton.