A Mayor who’s not to be messed with!
Councillor Kristan Green talks to Christine Conlin about her new role
“I never thought it would come to this!”
Stone’s new Mayor Kristan Green still can’t get over her sudden rise in local politics. She only joined the Town Council three years ago – and that was accidental. But as Councillor Jill Hood said in her proposing speech, Kristan’s motto is, “we’ll wing it”!
What happened was this – in 2015, Kristan was persuaded to add her name to the list of potential Stone Independent candidates for the newly created ward of Walton North. Walton North has three seats on the Town Council.
“I only wanted to help them out and never expected to stand for election,” she explains.
But when an Independent candidate higher up the list was debarred on a technicality, Kristan found herself returned unopposed. But Kristan is actually well up in Stone’s local politics. Her husband Mark is a local councillor and when he was Mayor in 2008-9, she was his Mayoress.
“A highlight was travelling on the first train to stop at Stone Station when our rail service was reintroduced after a five year break,” she proudly remembers.
This time, in a role reversal, Mark will be Kristan’s consort. Her Deputy Mayor is Cllr Jim Davies, who was Mayor from 2016-18. Kristan and Mark are both from Crewe, but came to Stone in 1984, when Mark became pub landlord first of the former Robin Hood near St Michael’s Church and then of the old Rising Sun on Newcastle Road. Though Kristan had already worked as a barmaid, running her own pub was a baptism of fire, especially as Mark would put her in the front line whenever there was trouble!
“Troublemakers in pubs take more notice of a woman than a man,” is Mark’s justification.
So on one memorable occasion, the 5’ 2” Kristan found herself dragging a 5’9” man out on to the Rising Sun car park to sober up. She won’t be standing for any nonsense on the Council then! Troublesome customers notwithstanding, Kristan and Mark soon decided that Stone was where they wanted to stay.
“You can’t walk along the High Street without being stopped for a chat, something you’d never get in Crewe,” says Kristan.
Yes, she knows Stone’s population is growing, but she still insists it’s got that friendly small town feel. To secure themselves a permanent home in Stone, the couple bought Mayfield House in Newcastle Road. From 1990, when the Rising Sun was sold to a developer, they moved in and ran it as a B&B.
“We met so many different kinds of people,” says Kristan. “A Mexican businessman who was on an exchange work placement with a company on Whitebridge stayed with us for over a year.”
Five years ago the couple, who have a grown-up son and daughter, moved to a bungalow in Walton. Both Kristan and Mark are active members of local voluntary organisations. As the outgoing president of Stone Lions, Kristan is looking forward to the return of its duck race in late June. Last year’s was sadly cancelled when their (plastic) ducks got burned.
“The ducks are all numbered, sponsors put themselves down for the numbers, and the ducks are tipped off the old Walton Bridge into the Trent. Downstream, we span a net to catch the ducks but this year, canoe club members will be also helping us bring back any that try to get away!”
The duck race proceeds fund appeals from local organisations on behalf of local residents, for example, a special pushchair for a child with restricted mobility. Mark and Kristan are both Friends of Stone Station and longstanding active members of Stone in Bloom. Which means turning out all year round for weeding, sweeping, removing graffiti, cleaning street furniture and the never-ending job of litter picking.
“I don’t mind getting my hands dirty,” says Kristan, who’s got her own litter picker. “I just put on some gloves.”
(Maybe she should have some ‘Mayoral Marigolds’ presented to her?) Honestly though, if the Mayor of Stone can stoop to picking up litter, can’t we all follow her example? Or better still, not drop it in the first place? Stone needs to be looking its best for this year’s exciting events programme.
Stone Festival kicked off with the Bank Holiday Monday Soapbox Derby on May 28th. Saturday July 14th sees the return of Stone Music Festival and in August the Market Square will be transformed into the beach of ‘Stone-by-the Sea’ (dates to be announced).
On Remembrance Sunday this November, Stone will commemorate both the centenary of the end of World War One and the 100th anniversary of the RAF by ringing the bells of St Michael’s and lighting a beacon on its tower.
“2018 will be a very special year for me as Mayor to lead Stone’s Remembrance Day service,” Kristan reflects.
Something else she hopes to see during her term as Mayor is Joule’s Brewery breaking ground on Crown Wharf, where it plans to build its flagship pub and explore the potential for building a community theatre.
“I’d definitely be there for that – I like to get stuck in!”
The new Joule’s pub, a new heritage centre (if Joule’s succeeds in buying the old fire station next to Crown Wharf) and the new leisure centre the Borough Council is about to build will all make Stone a good place to be, Kristan reckons.
“Elsewhere, pubs, arts and leisure facilities are closing down, but in Stone, we’ve got a future to look forward to.”
Something she wouldn’t look forward to, however, is the siting of HS2’s proposed railhead on land beside the M6 at Yarnfield. In February, Stone Town Council unanimously passed a petition to the HS2 Parliamentary Select Committee to relocate the railhead to Aldersey’s Rough near the M6 Keele Services.
“The railhead construction traffic would cause an awful lot of congestion in Stone without bringing us any benefits,” she believes.
That said, Kristan’s got a natty wheeze for dodging gridlock on the Eccleshall Road and the A34 – mobility scooters! As a Stone Lions volunteer, she often delivers scooters from their Crown Street depot to addresses all over Stone.
“Using three pelican crossings and the Walton underpass, I can scoot back to Walton in 10 minutes!”
But railhead or not, neither Kristan nor Mark will ever budge from Stone.
“I’m not going anywhere,” she insists. “The only time you’ll see me leave will be in a Co-op funeral car!”