Hampstead councillor leaves Camden Council for new life in US

It was with a heavy heart last week that Kirsty Roberts stepped down from Camden Council after six years of serving the Hampstead community to embark on a new life in the US.

Her departure from Camden’s corridors of power was met with sorrow on all sides of the political divide.

Leader of the council and political opponent Sarah Hayward said the news was a “big blow to Camden Tories. She was a power house for them.”

Other admirers agreed her strong campaigning would be sorely missed.

Ms Roberts, who was parachuted into the seat with six weeks to go until local elections in 2006, was selected to run for Hampstead Town ward after becoming involved in campaigns such as Save Our Green in South End Green.

“I thought about it for a week and I thought if it was something I was going to do I needed to do it properly and be fully committed,” said the former councillor, from Roderick Road.

“That’s the main reason why I am going now.

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“I really feel this is not a role that you can just take on because you have a real duty to work for your constituents.

“They have put their trust in you, but I have got to the stage where I feel I can no longer honour the amount of work that’s really needed in somewhere like Hampstead.”

Reflecting on her six-and-a-half years in the post, Ms Roberts, who moved to Hampstead 10 years ago, regrets that she did not have more time to devote to her work against human trafficking and slavery.

However, she leaves with pride in her work in banning petrol-powered leaf blowers in some areas of the borough and more recently fighting licensing battles such as helping to cut short the late-night hours of a controversial milkshake bar in Heath Street.

The 40-year-old is set to hop across the pond to get married and also to be closer to her relatives.

She said: “It has been such an honour but people’s personal circumstances change.”

On her return to politics, she said: “It (America) is going to be such a change of lifestyle and I am just going to enjoy some down time, but who knows.

“I don’t know what the future holds, one day I might be back in the UK, so never say never.”