LYME Regis goes to the polls on May 2 to elect a new town council after eight years of in-fighting and squabbles between councillors.
The 16 candidates for the 14 town council seats have now outlined their reasons for standing, with several calling for change on how the council operates.
It will be the first town election in Lyme for eight years with the last two councils at times bringing the town into disrepute.
The town clerk has had to warn members about their behaviour damaging the council, with a number of alleged breaches of the council’s code of conduct being referred to West Dorset’s monitoring officer and apologies having to be made.
As well as voting for town councillors, the electorate of Lyme will be appointing the first member of the newly-formed Dorset Council unitary authority.
Four candidates will be bidding for the one seat representing Lyme Regis and Charmouth – siblings Conservative Daryl Turner, a former county and district councillor, and his sister Cheryl Reynolds, a town and district councillor standing as an independent.
The other two candidates for the county seat are former town councillor Rikey Austin (Labour) and Rob Smith (Green Party).
Dorset Council members and town councillors will serve for a period of five years.
Polling stations for the Lyme elections will be at the Woodmead Halls and Hallett Court on Thursday, May 2, from 7am to 10pm. The votes will be counted in Weymouth and the results announced on Saturday, May 4.
Candidates’ names will be listed on the ballot papers in alphabetical order. In the case of the town council, it is not necessary to vote for 14 names, just the people you feel will do a good job representing the town in a respectful manner.
The existing town council will stay in power until May 6 and the new council will take over from that date.
The new mayor will be chosen at the first meeting of the new council on May 15. That meeting will be chaired by the outgoing mayor, Councillor Michaela Ellis, who will have the casting vote if there is a tie for votes between two candidates.
The call for younger people to put themselves forward for election was answered by Leon Howe, aged 20, son of former councillor Rikey Austin and her husband Paddy Howe, and 19-year-old Kelsey Ellis, the youngest daughter of the mayor and her consort husband Alan.
The other town council candidates include existing councillors John Broom, Richard Doney, Michaela Ellis, Brian Larcombe MBE, Sean Larcombe, Stephen Miller, Cheryl Reynolds, Jeff Scowen, Graham Turner and Stan Williams, and new candidates Belinda Bawden, David Ruffle, David Sarson and Gillian Stammers.
Four existing councillors – Derek Hallett, Pat Hicks, Owen Lovell and Patrick Ridley – are not standing.
Elections will also be held for Uplyme Parish Council, with 11 candidates standing for 10 available seats, and for East Devon District Council, with just two candidates standings for the Trinity ward, which includes Uplyme. These are existing ward member Ian Thomas and Labour candidate Sarah Birnie.
There will be no election in Charmouth as only seven candidates put themselves forward for the 11 available seats.