Meet the Candidates – Lyme Regis Town Council

Belinda Bawden

I’VE been coming to Lyme Regis since I was five years old on family holidays, then moved here more than 20 years ago to bring my daughters up in our safe, vibrant community. As a geographer, I feel blessed to live in such a beautiful landscape while understanding the sometimes differing needs of residents and visitors can create challenges. I am aware of the difficulties young people and families face living in a high cost area with seasonal and often insecure employment so would be interested to work with local businesses and entrepreneurs to explore sustainable ways to harness the creativity of the local community. As an educator, I am excited by the opportunities to learn about past and future environmental and climate change with the Jurassic Coast on our doorstep. With the Mary Anning Rocks campaign gaining international attention and growing public engagement worldwide in the need for urgent action to prevent catastrophic climate change, Lyme Regis should use its position as the ‘birthplace of palaeontology’ and centre of the Jurassic Coast to set the standard for public engagement in environmental sciences and public policy to develop more sustainable ways to live, work and thrive together while protecting the planet for future generations. If elected, I would campaign for Lyme to join other councils in declaring a ‘climate emergency’ and work with Turn Lyme Green, Plastic Free Lyme and others to develop net zero-carbon activities and achieve the transition needed towards a more sustainable, better quality of life for everyone.

John Broom

FOR the past four years I have had the honour to serve on Lyme Regis Town Council. In that time I have been chairman of the Town Management and Highways Committee and vice-chairman of the Planning Committee. I am also vice-chairman of the Western Area of the Dorset Association of Parish and Town Councils and sit on the executive committee. I have to admit I was not born in Lyme Regis, but Devon, and was brought home to Lyme Regis when I was seven days old. I attended the local schools, completing my education at Lyme Regis Grammar School, after which I attended the local technical college. I have been in the construction industry all of my life. As a council we have improved the toilets by the amusement arcade, free Wi-Fi on the parade, showers to the beach area, secured the running of the local bus, a permanent park and ride on the east of the town, an in depth traffic survey and the lighting of the Langmoor and Lister Gardens, which hopefully will be complete by June of this year. But we must go forward, and I believe the next project which should be investigated is the Strawberry Field site. This has laid dormant for too many years, and I would like to see it become a community leisure site. Published by John Broom, 2 Providence Place, Lyme Regis DT7 3NZ.

Richard Doney

YOUR vote is important. Please use it. Whatever you think about the town council, it is vital that the electors of Lyme Regis make their views known. Of course, I would like you to vote for me. But why should you? I joined the council four years ago. I was determined not to be a councillor who simply attended meetings and made little contribution. So I have taken the lead or worked to support council officers on: the seagull campaign, beach wheelchairs, the restoration of the 71 town bus service, Plastic Free Lyme Regis, the step-free signage in the gardens and the seafront wi-fi. If elected, I shall continue working this way. But I also want the council to be more inclusive in its deliberations. Our town is full of people who have a wide range of life skills and experience. The council needs to pay attention to the views of our businesses, our young people and the many groups who care about our town by involving them. This will help the council make better decisions and operate more efficiently. As I said at the beginning, your vote is important. Please use it.

Kelsey Ellis

MY name is Kelsey Ellis, I am a Lyme girl born and bread and I am currently training as an apprentice accountant technician. My mother is Michaela Ellis, the current mayor of the town. My father is Alan Ellis, a local plumber and firefighter. I volunteer as a PI for the Lyme Regis detachment of the Army Cadet Force and I am also the deputy standard bearer for the Lyme Regis branch of the Royal British Legion. I would like to become a councillor in order to give a voice to the younger generations as well as to give back the town that I have grown up in. I want to work with a team of people who are passionate about keeping the town to a standard that we can all be proud of. As well as this, I want listen to and work with the local people of Lyme Regis to see how they feel the town could be improved.

Michaela Ellis

I HAVE lived in Lyme Regis all my life, attending St Michael’s Primary school and the Woodroffe School and went on to manage Woolworths. I am now the caretaker and bookings secretary for the Woodmead Halls and work part-time in Boots the chemist. I am married to Alan, a plumber and firefighter, and we have two daughters and a 16-month-old grandson. I am chair of governors at St Michael’s Primary School, chairman of the bingo association, a member of the Cancer Research UK committee, a trustee of the almshouses and a sides person at St Michael’s Parish Church. I have been on the council since 2001 and have served as mayor in 2010/11 and am currently the town’s mayor. Having lived here all my life and raised my family here, i would like to think I understand many of the problems that families living here face. I am putting myself up for election again because I enjoy the challenge of working to do the best for the town that I have always lived it. There is a very fine line between doing things for the residents who live here all year around and the visitors who come to enjoy our town, which in return provides many local people with jobs and income.

Leon Howe

GROWING up in a small town like Lyme Regis, I understand that sometimes local politics can seem a little daunting. I spent years of my life wanting to become involved in the future of my town, but I didn’t feel that I would be able to understand the system, didn’t feel that my particular voice would be heard. For a lot of people in our town, especially young people I feel, there is no pull, no attraction towards local politics. And as a consequence of this I feel that many people in Lyme Regis aren’t seeing the changes they want to see in their town. Now I may not be nearly as experienced as other candidates for this position, but if I am voted in, then the one, most important thing I think I could do for this town, is make at least one person who doesn’t feel represented, be heard. That is after all what a council is for. Hearing the issues of the people, and representing those views. Now I understand that I may not always agree with every opinion that is presented to me, but this in no way makes these opinions less legitimate, less of a pressing concern to me. Your voice matters to me, and I will do my utmost to ensure that the town of Lyme Regis is a place you can be proud to call home.

Brian Larcombe MBE

I WAS born and brought up in Lyme Regis. I’ve worked for Rolls Royce and the UK Hydrographic Office; I’ve been a long-serving school governor and council chairman, and a member of Lyme’s council for the last four years. Lyme has a fantastic setting and historic legacy; it also has matters of the present and needs of the future. It is a special place to live and its attraction continues to bring rising numbers of holidaymakers and day-trippers. The impact the seasonal and weekend expansion places upon the town and the way it functions is significant and has to be balanced with the ongoing needs and interests of Lyme’s residents. While the seasonal benefit it brings is important, it is at a tipping point. The population within a couple of hours’ drive radius is huge and the pursuit of ever-increasing footfall to Lyme is not sustainable; the town doesn’t have the capacity to absorb more. Lyme has to become a destination of choice rather than simply a destination of number. There is continual pressure on local government resources at every level and the new Dorset unitary, with its thinner rural population and lack of urban concentration, will have raised difficulty in maintaining services. Towns like Lyme will need to look more to their own resources to maintain aspects of the quality of life within them. I’d like to be part of a council that will address today’s issues and future needs, and endeavour to make effective decisions and use of its resources; a council that is felt competent by those it interacts with and well-regarded by the residents in whose interests it should work.

Sean Larcombe

FOR those of you that don’t know me, my name is Sean Larcombe, I’m 56 years old and married with three children. I have travelled extensively around the world, but always find myself drawn back to area I grew up in. I have lived in Lyme Regis for more than 16 years and work with my wife running our own successful business. For the past four years I have been doing my bit for the local council. I believe while in council chambers you should keep it professional and work to make the town a better place for everyone. I have the ability listen but also to speak out when there are issues that I have my own opinion on. If re-elected I will do my best to push forward the existing ideas that have not yet come to fruition, help local people and be heard as an advocate for Lyme Regis town. Whilst I believe Lyme Regis, as a seaside town, should embrace tourism, the people who live here all year round are equally important, if not more so. I am very approachable and happy to answer any questions in person, via email or phone. My details are on the council website or from the town council offices.

Stephen Miller

I AM looking for your support to continue representing Lyme Regis as a town councillor, bringing a steady, pragmatic and reasoned approach to the requirements of this important role. I have served as a town councillor for Lyme Regis for the last four years, taking on the roles of chair of Planning and subsequently chair of Strategy and Finance committees. During the last two years I have also enjoyed the position of deputy mayor where I have been honoured, when called upon, to represent this town, together with my wife Heather, at events and functions, both in Lyme and across the county of Dorset. Lyme Regis is a fantastic regency seaside town with a rich tapestry of history sitting behind it and if this town council steers a course in the right direction, a town with a huge future in front of it. It will not always be easy blending together the needs of Lyme Regis residents, who are the heart and soul of this town, alongside those of visitors and holiday makers. There will also be the significant challenge that will come from the new unitary authority ‘Dorset Council’. These are challenges I wish to embrace. I passionately want to help Lyme Regis continue to be a fantastic place to live and visit and would like the opportunity to make that happen.

Cheryl Reynolds

THIS election isn’t about me, it’s about you. It’s about you having the right people on the council who will strive to work for you, because it’s your town – even though at times in the past it might not have felt like it. For me, working for you means putting your interests first; getting done what you want done and prioritising that above the council’s interests or the policies of any political party. It means fighting for young parents to have better, affordable housing, it means sorting out our crazy traffic problems, with effective signage and systems to keep the big trucks out of the town, it means better breaks for local businesses and it means working for a safer Lyme, where law and order is paramount. It means working for the young people of the town to have a youth café that is somewhere of their own and it means making every effort to have better local bus services so that the elderly can get about more easily and enjoy the town that is very much theirs too. It means putting on more pressure to get our cinema back, it means sorting out the Three Cups once and for all, it means fighting for a plastic-free, greener Lyme and making your home town a prosperous, happier place where we are proud to live. This, and much more, I will work hard to win for you. I’m a doer, not a talker, and I do it all for you. Promoted by Cheryl Reynolds, 6 Manor Ave, Lyme Regis DT7 3AU.

David Ruffle

I PAID my first visit to Lyme Regis in January 2004 and was immediately enchanted by the town and its people. Oxfordshire was never going to be the same for me after that! Since moving here I have mostly worked in retail, currently at Quality Corner in Broad Street, where I have worked for the last nine years. Lyme has inspired me in many ways; I began writing, something quite unknown to me and have been fortunate to have had several books and short stories published including the ‘Sherlock Holmes in Lyme Regis’ trilogy of novellas and the comic ‘Twist of Lyme’ trilogy, partially set in the town. I have also ventured on to the boards in recent years and serve on the Marine Players committee. I am also a member of the Lyme Regis Society and have volunteered at the Weldmar charity shop and am currently a volunteer with the Lyme Regis food bank. None of which explains my decision to stand for council. My prime motivation for doing so is to put something back into the town that I love. I love the traditions and history associated with the town, but I want to assist in helping the town progress through the early years of the 21st century. We can all work together to solve the problems that come our way, not just for the residents, but also for the thousands of tourists who, after all are our lifeblood. I hope, should I be elected, I will do my very best to serve Lyme, preserving what is best about the town, but not neglecting the future challenges be they traffic, crime, social housing, etc.

David Sarson

MY name is David Sarson, I have lived in Lyme Regis for 14 years and am married to Erica. I have been actively involved in our community almost since arriving in this wonderful town. I have been a member of the Rotary Club of Lyme Regis for the past six years (president in 2016/2017), I am a co-ordinator for Royal Voluntary Services Community Companions for Lyme Regis, Charmouth and Bridport, an active member of Lyme Forward Community Lunches and Lyme Regis Residents Association, and, when I have time, I can be found at Lyme Regis Bowls Club. I am very keen to become more involved within my own community and assist whenever I can on local issues. Those who know me know that I am very approachable and a good listener, I enjoy engaging with the community and I am not afraid of hard work. If elected I will do my utmost to represent your concerns after all its your Town and it’s what you deserve. I will encourage an open dialogue between our Council and you the residents of our town to ensure your voices are heard. I am not politically motivated, I do believe in putting local issues before party politics. I do hope to have your vote on Thursday, May 2. Promoted by David Sarson, 19 Elizabeth Close, Lyme Regis, DT7 3BN.

Jeff Scowen

FOR the past three years I have had the privilege of serving on our town council, and it has been mostly an enjoyable and rewarding experience. I shall be standing for re-election in order to continue my quest to make our beautiful and special town and even better place to live and work. I have been actively involved in creating many of the council’s initiatives over the past few years, including the council’s new loos and free wi-fi on the seafront, better rubbish management, the future addition of Abbotsbury-style lights in the gardens, showers on the beach, the reinstatement of the town bus, the promoting of the Mary Anning statue, the commissioning of an in depth study of traffic in Lyme and better event management. However, I am not complacent, far from it, in fact other projects that I would like to see happen include the development of our 10-acre site, Strawberry Fields, on Charmouth Road. Here we could have a field study centre, maybe a swimming pool and other leisure facilities. The beauty of such a plan is that it wouldn’t add to Lyme’s traffic woes and would create jobs for locals. And how about modern water drinking stations and more colourful plants in the gardens? I would also like to see the council work more closely with the business and art communities and to encourage better involvement with the community as a whole. I would be honoured to be able to serve our fair town for another term, a place where I feel that we are all blessed to live and work.

Gillian Stammers

I WAS born in Bridport and have lived in Lyme Regis for 25 years.  My four children all attended local schools and two of them still live and work in the town. Much of my working life has been spent behind a post office counter. I started in Bridport and have been the manager at Uplyme Post Office for nine years. I cannot think of a more community-based occupation and I couldn’t estimate the number of people I have met and got to know over the years. I am pleased to see two younger candidates standing in this election.  I hope the prospect of a voice on the council will encourage young people to vote and engage in local politics. Many of our young people take weekend jobs in their early teens and, by working in the tourist industry, they help to support the wealth of the town whilst learning valuable social and life skills. I think we should celebrate the young people of our town, particularly at a time when violence amongst the young is escalating in many towns and cities. The current council has made tourist friendly improvements on the seafront, but I would like to see the shelters brightened up, perhaps with a collaborative art project. I  am a regular attendee at the Marine Theatre and am pleased the council continue to support it through grants. I am a supporter of the food bank and the Syrian Refugee Resettlement Programme. I think a lifetime of working with the public will make me an approachable councillor.

Graham Turner

I WAS born in, and love, our beautiful town and people of Lyme Regis. For more than 50 years I have served out community; first as a lifeboat crew member for 30 years, rising to the position of senior helmsman. After this, I joined the coastguard which I have been in for more than 20 years and I was station officer for 18 years. This has been a life-enhancing and rewarding experience for me. I am well known and would like to think well liked, because I have spent much of my working life as an honest and reliable tradesman in the area. Having served on our town council now for over a year, I have come to support and appreciate some of the council’s projects. The forthcoming coloured lights and newly-formed nature trail in the gardens, as examples, I wholeheartedly support. Together with another councillors, I was also involved in the successful renegotiating of the bowling club’s lease, an institution that I greatly support, it being an integral part of our community. I would welcome the opportunity to serve you again here in Lyme Regis, truly the Pearl of Dorset. Thank you.

Stan Williams

I AM asking for your support to allow me to represent you on Lyme Regis Town Council.  I am an experienced councillor and I believe that I have the experience needed to serve you for another term.  With a new unitary authority in place of the former district and county councils we need to keep a careful eye on what is happening around us. LRTC needs to be able to adapt and to be ready to bridge gaps where necessary.  This is not a charter for the new unitary authority to ignore Lyme, but a promise that I will hold the new Dorset Council to account to ensure that Lyme is treated fairly.   As ever I will continue to focus on the issues which impact residents, affordable housing, traffic, year round employment opportunities and trying to deliver a town that works for its locals whilst recognising the benefit of the income that the council obtains from tourism.  This income enables the council to be able to invest in Lyme and to support the voluntary groups that work so hard to deliver services, opportunities and activities in Lyme.    Lyme is a beautiful place to live but there is no doubt that it is a difficult environment for many residents in terms of accessing education, jobs, medical provision, etc. The council must continue working to focus on the lives of our residents and our community.   Please note that I am at the bottom of the voting slip – please save me a vote!

Use your vote on Thursday, May 2 2019!

Some candidates for Lyme Regis Town Council did not include their addresses on election leaflets posted to houses around the town, which is a requirement of the Electoral Commission. After taking advice, they have published their addresses on the LymeOnline website, and these can be viewed on our Public Notices page. 

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