The good people of Sidmouth deserve better

It would appear that the Tories are struggling to find Sidmouth folk who aren’t related to stand in the 3 Sidmouth wards in this election, or to find candidates who actually live in the Ward they’re standing in.

Sidmouth Town has two Tory candidates. Firstly, John Zarczynski who lives in Honiton and was on Honiton Town Council. In December 2019 an independent investigation by East Devon District Council’s monitoring officer found that he, Councillor John Zarczynski, and two other Honiton Town Councillors had all breached the code of conduct as they hadn’t treated others with courtesy and respect. The monitoring officer found that all three had brought Honiton Town Council into disrepute.

John Zarczynski was sanctioned to apologise in two separate cases in 2019. I wonder why he’s not standing for a Honiton seat in this election? Perhaps the thought is that the good people of Sidmouth won’t have been following his activities over the hill in Honiton over recent years.

John Zarczynski’s Tory running mate in Sidmouth is serial candidate Sophie Richards. By serial candidate I mean this is her third location in 5 years and her fourth attempt at getting elected to something. God does love a tryer.

In 2018 Sophie was unsuccessful in getting elected as a Councillor for North End on Hammersmith & Fulham Council in London. She then flitted to Coventry for the 2019 general election where Sophie again was unsuccessful, but this time as a parliamentary candidate in the NE Coventry Constituency. Bless her, Sophie still tells everyone on her Twitter biog of that campaign, but strangely not of her current attempt in Sidmouth.

Then in 2022 Sophie has another, albeit unsuccessful attempt, at getting elected as a Councillor on Hammersmith & Fulham Council, this time for the West Kensington Ward.

And now Sophie has rocked up to stand in Sidmouth, living it would seem at “Mama Richards” home in Sidmouth. I guess she likes the commute to our special part of the world and it’s a short hop to seek out “friends” in Exmouth.

Welcome, albeit presumably temporarily Sophie, to your latest election test in your new home with Mama. There’s just no stopping you in your hunger to get elected. Somewhere!

Mama Richards, as Sophie referred to her on Twitter recently, lives in Sidmouth where she works as a solicitor. Mama, or Christina as the ballot paper will refer to her as, is standing in Sidmouth Rural and if elected alongside Sophie, will have the pleasure of quality mother and daughter time in the Council chamber. And it’s always nice to see parents opening their doors to their grown-up children to “live” with them. It always is necessary to live in the area where you are standing in a local election.

The Tories are standing Councillor Mike Goodman, who lives a short distance from Sidmouth sea front to stand in his neighbouring Ward of Sidford. Presumably John and Sophie were seen as better candidates for his home Ward of Sidmouth Town.

Councillor Goodman has been a Councillor on Windlesham parish Council since 2019 and this year has managed to get back to Surrey to attend 6 out of its 9 Council meetings, as recently as 28 March. Will he be attending his next one on 25 April?

Whilst Mike has been a Councillor in Windlesham it hasn’t stopped him climbing the local Conservative Party greasy political ladder to become local deputy chairman political last summer. He’s also been very active in continuously attacking the decisions of the same district council he now wants to be elected to.

Mike still has a property back in Windlesham that he registers himself as the landlord of and he still, according to his Councillor profile, sits on the Surrey County Association of Parish & Town Councils.

Mike has a bee in his bonnet about the increase in local car park charges, but he easily forgets how Surrey Live reported in 2019 that “Surrey councillor ‘fully committed’ to maintaining controversial countryside car parking charges”. As a Surrey County Councillor Mike was responsible for introducing car parking charges that upset local residents. Despite local opposition, then Surrey County Councillor Mike was reported by Surrey Live as saying “he was “fully committed” to keeping the


Oh, how easily Mike forgets his controversial past and is able to lambast our district council over car parking charges. Mike loves to have his cake and eat it.

And finally, Sidford has that old Monster Raving Loony supporter, and activist, Stuart “Huggy” Hughes partnering Mike on behalf of the Tories in these elections.

I’m a wise old owl and so I encourage Sidmouth voters to look behind their Tory candidates’ names and judge them on their track records, and their roles in Sidmouth and the Sid Valley.