AHEAD of the by-election on Thursday, August 8 to fill a vacancy on Lyme Regis Town Council, we introduce you to the four candidates vying for your votes – Paul Edmonds, Owen Lovell, Steve Miller and Rob Smith.
OUR home has been in Lyme Regis for almost 20 years but once my wife retired in 2017 we were able to live here permanently. I was still aware of many of the things that were then going on in Lyme Regis before this, although I was not able to be involved actively with them until 2017. Since then, I have been involved with both the bowls club, where I help as a qualified bowls coach, and the Marine Theatre. I became a trustee of the theatre in 2017 assuming the role of finance trustee, as well as deputy chair, and hope that my contribution has helped towards the current success of one of Lyme’s prime assets. My previous experience of being a parish councillor at Hook in North Hampshire was during a period of rapid expansion in the 1980s and 1990s. Extensive development brought its issues but it also brought in substantial funds for community use. The parish council used those funds wisely and I became extensively involved with two projects in particular. One was starting a new bowls club, with new green and clubhouse, and the other was building a new community hall. Although that seems quite a while ago, the principles I learnt during my period as a councillor have stayed with me – not least the need to work with people who may have completely different experiences and views. During the latter part of my working life, I ran a consulting actuarial practice, having left an employed position as chief actuary in a benefits consultancy in London in order to return to the South West where we grew up. If elected, I will bring to Lyme Regis Town Council my experiences and knowledge as well as my financial skills; and a desire to help Lyme Regis continue to flourish.
YET another election for Lyme Regis Town Council, I am standing as an independent to hopefully represent you, the voters of Lyme Regis. I would like to continue to use the experience I have gained for another term. For those who do not know me, here is a brief background; I arrived just over 50 years ago, as a serving police officer and later left the service, and worked for myself in the holiday industry, which I am still continuing. I also served 26 years in Lyme Regis Fire Brigade. I represented the town at West Dorset District Council for 20 years, gaining experience as housing and planning chairman (1987-2007). I won a seat on Lyme Regis Town Council in 1978 and have since served in all chairmanships and, indeed, had the pleasure of being mayor for six years, the last period being 2015-2017. I believe I successfully helped weld the council into a cohesive unit following several years of dissent; when I finished, the council was much more highly thought of and united. Indeed, the town clerk’s annual report praised the progress we had made. I did submit papers for the recent election but, because of a query over the date the papers were signed, I was unable to stand. I have served over the years on many fundraising committees but I am currently chairman of the Over 70s Christmas Dinner Committee, and a founding member of Lyme Regis Community Bingo, raising thousands annually for seven community groups. A couple of years ago I was honoured to be asked to be Lyme Regis Town Band’s president and I was pleased to accept. My wife is currently also chairman of the very successful Lyme Regis Christmas Lights Committee. There are now four generations of my family involved in Lyme Regis so I am fully aware of most of the problems of living in Lyme Regis, such as housing and employment.
I MOVED to Lyme Regis with my wife Heather in 2011 after spending 10 years in the small town of Lauder, in the Scottish Borders. Whilst there I was invited to join the parish council which gave me exposure to local council dynamics and the needs of a small local community. Heather and I both wanted to be more than just residents in Lyme and I joined Martin Diplock Estate Agents on a part-time basis and Heather volunteers for the Weldmar Hospice shop on Broad Street. Between us we therefore get an insight into what is happening and what is important to the residents of Lyme. I was brought up in Coventry and joined National Westminster Bank in 1973 pursuing a career which saw me working in the Midlands, London and finally with the Royal Bank of Scotland in Edinburgh, retiring in 2010. I joined Lyme Regis Town Council in 2015, chairing the Planning Committee and latterly the Strategy and Finance Committee, where I was able to draw on my considerable previous work experience. Time after time I was referred to as the “voice of reason” promoting pragmatic and sensible decisions which the council, on a consensus basis, could support. I was also very proud to serve as deputy mayor with great support from Heather. During this time I involved myself in most of the key projects undertaken by the council, such as showers on the beach, town wi-fi and town bus service, working with fellow councillors and also the officers and wider team, without whom this council simply could not function. There is, however, so much more to do and I dearly wish to continue to be involved. Before the election in May I was the driving force to insist on a professional evaluation of the Strawberry Fields site and would like to see that pushed through into an exciting project for Lyme. I have also supported pushing forward with Lyme’s green and eco credentials.
I’VE been delighted by the support received since standing for election. Many people offered to help leafleting, and we leafleteers have received encouraging feedback from the people we’ve met. I decided to stand for the town council to work for the environment, and help those in Lyme who find themselves struggling. Environmental and social concerns go hand in hand. I would work closely with the new One Planet group on reach their sustainable development goals, tackling social and environmental issues. I would encourage local businesses to pay the Living Wage, and I’d be interested in other ways to improve employment opportunities in Lyme, and I would like to see more affordable housing provision for local residents. I would urge the council to help those in Lyme who are struggling and left behind, young or old. Our family moved to Lyme two years ago because it is a great place to live. We love the setting and being part of this thriving community. As a parent of secondary school children, I know the pressures families face. We’ve been welcomed by the community – I am on the council of Uplyme Church, have acted with The Marine Players (who kindly put me on stage in ‘A Christmas Carol’), and am a member of Turn Lyme Green, helping out with their Plastic Free Lyme Regis campaign. I like to work collaboratively – listening to other’s points of view, building consensus, and ‘rolling up my sleeves’ to get things done. I look forward to applying this approach to working on the town council. Your vote matters. This is a small election, possibly decided by a few votes. If you like what you’ve read, then do please vote for me. But however you vote, do get involved in the life of our great community.