With less than a week to go before the local elections, the media is beginning to publish candidate statements.
Owl notices that many Conservative candidates have chosen no to do this, five on this list.
Are they taking the electorate for granted or are they only paper candidates?
Philippa Davies www.sidmouthherald.co.uk
East Devon goes to the polls, along with the rest of the country, on Thursday, May 4, with all the seats on the district council up for grabs. Here are the candidates standing for election in the Sidmouth and Ottery area, with the details they have supplied to us.
Beer & Branscombe: (one seat)
Conservative: Maria Hall – no details supplied
Independent: John Heath
“I am contesting the Beer and Branscombe seat on EDDC as an Independent. I am local and have lived in Beer for 13 years, having married a ‘Beer’ girl.
“My professional career has been as a front-line child protection social worker and manager, and I have been an inspector of social services. I am newly retired so can devote my full attention to the needs of my local area.
“I will listen to and act on your concerns ensuring your views are represented. I simply want what is best for our community. I am currently a councillor with Beer Parish Council and will use my skills and experience to serve the district.”
Liberal Democrat: Peter Burrows
“I have lived in Seaton for 27 years with my family, children and grandkids. In that time l have served on the District and the Town Council. I have been an East Devon District Councillor for 13 years and have stood for election as County Councillor, in Beer & Branscombe, following the wonderful Margaret Rogers. I served on the Planning committee fighting for the locals against excessive development. I very much understand the effect of second homes has on the community and would do my utmost to stop the spread as it is detrimental to the local economy especially during the quieter months. Council tax should be tripled! It is also forcing locals to find places elsewhere which is unacceptable.
“I am a member of Greenpeace and Surfers Against Sewage and I am the lead on the Plastic Free Seaton group which organizes Beach & Town cleans and encourages people to be aware of their environment.”
Newton Poppleford & Harpford (one seat)
Conservative: Josh Harrison
“Joshua is a youthful resident of Newton Poppleford and is enthusiastic about the future of the town. Joshua is determined to update the local amenities whilst staying true to the rural town we all know and love. Josh is aware of all the local issues such as road safety, keeping the parking free and the need for the development of communication for both work and social lives. Joshua will listen to you and will be there to help with local problems no matter the size. And will deliver your priorities.”
Independent: Chris Burhop
“As a resident of Newton Poppleford for the past 30 years I have taken an increasingly keen interest in the role of firstly the Parish Council, which I am currently Chair of, and latterly the District Council following my successful election at the by-election for the ward in November last year.
“I am 57 years old, married with three grown-up children. Both the safety of local roads and protecting and enhancing our beautiful environment have been the focus of much of my attention over the past several years, along with campaigning for better facilities in the ward. I sincerely hope that I can continue to serve residents as their District Councillor for the next four years.”
Ottery St Mary (three seats)
Conservative: Charlie Hobson – no details supplied
Conservative: Mohammed Sarul Islam – no details supplied
Conservative: Mohammed Zayan Islam – no details supplied
Independent: Peter Faithfull – no details supplied
Independent: Vicky Johns
“I have lived in Ottery St Mary for the majority of my life having gone to both Ottery St Mary Primary school and The King’s School. I work for a local charity, am a supporter of the Ottery St Mary Veterans Society, and my husband is chair of the local cricket club. Our two grown-up children were also schooled in Ottery and participated in various activities within the area. I love where I live and am proud of our community.
“I have represented Ottery residents at both Town Council and at East Devon District Council since 2019 and would like to continue to do so. I think it is important for councillors to ‘listen’ to the residents and act in their best interests, as an Independent candidate I am free to represent the community.”
Liberal Democrat: Graham Woolnough
“Graham spent 16 years as a unitary authority councillor. He has been a governor of a further education college for twelve years and of primary, secondary and special needs schools.
“Now retired, Graham worked in the construction and transportation industries, latterly as a Commercial Manager. He has four adult children and nine grandchildren under 10.
“My priorities as a councillor would be to work with the County to ensure quality, local education for our children and to campaign for proper infrastructure, particularly transport links, for the more inaccessible parts of our District.”
Liberal Democrat: Jamie Aylward
“Jamie moved to Ottery 25 years ago, having run a restaurant in Exmouth and been a web developer. Today he is a qualified hypnotherapist, practising in Ottery.
“I believe that close-knit families have better health and so do communities. Loneliness is damaging so as a community we should look after each other. I believe we can all contribute to Ottery St Mary – people are our best resource. My ambition is to do what I can to bring them together.”
Labour: Bethany Collins
“Having lived most of my life in the town, I have a deep understanding of the issues that matter to our thriving community. I am running to be your councillor because I love Ottery and will work tirelessly to make a positive difference to the lives of residents. I believe EDDC could benefit from having a strong Ottery voice and I hope you do too.”
Sidmouth Rural (one seat)
Conservative: Christina Richards – no details supplied
Independent: John Loudoun
“I have a strong commitment to public service, no personal vested interest to pursue and a proven record of standing up for Sidmouth and the Sid Valley. I want to continue to make positive and effective improvements that support local residents and businesses.
“I was elected in 2019. Since then, I have worked across the political divide. In 2020 I joined the current Council coalition administration and am a Cabinet Member.
“We are proud to have worked positively and collaboratively for the benefit of East Devon’s residents and businesses. With your support I can continue that work on local issues as a local independent voice.”
Sidmouth Sidford (three seats)
Conservative: Mike Goodman
“Mike was a County Councillor and Cabinet member in Surrey before moving to Sidmouth two years ago with his wife Karen. He is passionate about helping others, through Rotary he helped families and senior citizens in the Sid Valley last Christmas. He is part of the Parish Church and umpires for Sidmouth CC. Mike also started the petition to stop the doubling of car parking charges in Sidmouth. There is so much that can be done for residents and the environment and Mike wants to represent you so you have a voice in what happens in your area.”
Conservative: Stuart Hughes
“My track record shows positive results achieved over a wide range of issues as someone who listens to residents and stands up for what is right for both the individual and the wider community.
“Re-elected on Thursday 4th May I will continue to be a strong voice at East Devon District Council for the Sidmouth Sidford Ward, giving 100% in my Community leadership role.
“I will continue through the Local Planning process to oppose any development of the Sidford business park land, which would have a detrimental effect on the quality of life for local residents through increased traffic and would also lead to the eventual destruction of the green wedge between Sidford and Sidbury.”
Liberal Democrats: Lisa Garner
“I currently work as an NHS clinician within community mental health services and have 30 years’ experience in Health and Social Care.
“I think being part of community is very important for all of us. I enjoy getting involved in local activities and support networks. I also enjoy bird watching and appreciating our beautiful environment and quirky historical buildings. I have a daughter and two grandchildren.
“I believe in local decision making, proactively representing the views of local residents. My late partner was an EDDC Councillor, so I know the commitment and work required to be a local representative.
“I love our special part of East Devon and it would be an honour to be elected by you to represent Sidford.”
Liberal Democrats: Marianne Rixson
“I have been a District Councillor for Sidmouth Sidford since 2015 and a Cabinet member for Climate Action for the last three years.
“If re-elected, I would:
Ensure the sea defence project of £19.5m is implemented to protect Sidmouth seafront and town
Hold South West Water to account over sewage pollution
Fight for high quality, low carbon homes in East Devon that are affordable
Provide support for those affected by the cost of living crisis
Continue public toilet provision for residents and tourists
Encourage further improvements in our recycling and waste performance
Deliver the council’s climate action and biodiversity strategy.”
Sidmouth Town (two seats)
Conservative: John Zarczynski
“East Devon has been home to my family since 1991, I am a hard-working individual with a strong commitment to public service. I am a Trustee and Chairman of the 55+ Day Care Centre which provides a vital service for Devon’s most vulnerable Senior citizens. I ask for your vote and if elected I pledge a firm commitment to oppose any cuts in vital public services as your public servant.”
Conservative: Sophie Richards
“I fell in love with Sidmouth as a child and I am so proud to be standing to serve Sidmouth Town on EDDC. For many years, my parents visited our beautiful town and now they’ve settled here, I call it home.
“Jacob’s Ladder has always been my oasis and a place of happy memories, particularly playing cricket on the beach with my family. I will do everything I can to protect our stunning coastline and beautiful countryside.
“Knocking on doors and speaking to people, I know many share my concerns about the future of our seafront, the huge hike in the cost of parking, the impact of the local housing plan and the cost of living.
“My promise to you is simple – I will work hard to serve you, represent the values of our town, and make sure every decision our council makes is value for money for taxpayers.”
Independent: Ian Barlow
“I have lived or worked in Sidmouth for over 42 years. Sidmouth Town Councillor for 12 years, three as chair, helping to transform it into the most proactive, efficient, innovative and courageous town council in East Devon working together to deliver for our town. I believe in getting things done, not political bickering that seems to exist in local councils today. I will work with any person regardless of their political beliefs as long as they are efficient and get the job done. I am experienced in local matters, I am NOT a career politician, I am retired and am happy to dedicate my time, that I believe the position of councillor needs if we want things to improve . I promise to put in the hours if you give me your vote.”
Independent: Denise Bickley
“I’m friendly, collaborative, energetic, environment-focused, open and honest. I can’t stand old-school ‘political games’ and bullying. I live and work in Sidmouth and am raising my children here.
“I believe in affordable homes in the right places, designed for how we want to live. I work hard for biodiversity, a plastic free environment, improving recycling, and action towards mitigating and adapting to the climate emergency we face.
“I want to remain part of the Beach Management Plan as it enters the crucial design stage to ensure a positive outcome.
“I am happily committed to working in collaboration with like-minded councillors in a positive, forward-thinking administration.”
West Hill & Aylesbeare (one seat)
Conservative: Alan Richardson
“Alan and his wife Vera moved to West Hill almost seven years ago and are enjoying the peaceful tranquillity of village life after living in the commuter belt of London for more than 40 years.
After serving five years on the West Hill Conservative Association branch committee, Alan became chairman earlier this year and both he and Vera are active in a number of other social activities within the village.
Should he be elected he would be concerned to maintain the quiet charm of the village and other similar villages in the area whilst at the same time recognising the need for constant change to adapt to an ever evolving world. The village shop in West hill is a vital part of the community, particularly with its provision of postal services and anything which could be done to support maintaining the viability of this facility would be a high priority.”
Independent: Jess Bailey
“If re-elected, my key priorities would be: to vigorously oppose large scale development especially greenfield development; to hold South West Water to account to clean up our rivers; and to press for greater protection for our trees. We already have huge housing pressures on our area – our services including schools and GPs are at capacity and our roads are in the worst state I have known them. With significant changes to planning rules looming, it is now more important than ever for West Hill and Aylesbeare to have a committed and robust advocate with a proven track record of representing the community.”
Liberal Democrats: Iain Fairbarn
“Iain is a retired solicitor, who still works part-time, leading a high-tech engineering business at Exeter Science Park. In the law, he worked extensively for the NHS and spent seven years as a non-executive director of a Bristol teaching hospital.
“My first priority would be more affordable housing, without spoiling our countryside – good homes are badly needed, particularly by young families. And, secondly, to work with the NHS and the County to improve access to health and social care services.”