Bristol TV

Sunrise Sunset
°C
Today
16/06/2021
°C
Tonight
16/06/2021
°C
Tomorrow
17/06/2021
°C
Saturday
18/06/2021
°C
Sunday
19/06/2021
°C
Monday
20/06/2021
°C

RURAL SEAT: Old Cleeve & District candidates

RURAL SEAT: Old Cleeve & District candidates

Image: LDRS

The Liberal Democrats face a fight from two familiar faces as they try to retain a rural seat in a crucial council by-election.

Residents within the Old Cleeve and District ward on Somerset West and Taunton Council will go to the polls on June 17 to elect a new ward member following the resignation of Peter Pilkington in early-May.

Mr Pilkington’s departure (for “family reasons”), coupled with other changes on the council, has left the Lib Dems without a majority for the first time since the local elections in May 2019.

To help regain this majority, their candidate faces stiff competition from two former Conservatives who are standing again – one for the party, the other as an independent.

Both Martin Dewdney (Conservative) and Richard Lillis (independent) served the villages around Old Cleeve for several years on West Somerset Council.

Mr Dewdney was elected as one of two Conservative ward members for the original Old Cleeve and District ward in 2011.

He was re-elected in 2015 alongside Mr Lillis, who had previously represented the Minehead Central ward for the Tories for four years.

The two gentlemen – who both reside in Washford – put themselves forward to represent Old Cleeve on the new council.

But both the ward’s seats went to the Lib Dems in the local elections, with Mr Dewdney finishing in third place for the Tories (with 18 per cent of the vote) and Mr Lillis coming in last as an independent (14 per cent).

The Lib Dems’ candidate, Watchet resident Steve Griffiths, served on West Oxfordshire District Council between 1991 and 1999, focusing his attentions on affordable housing and the environment.

Since relocating to Somerset (where he claims to have “strong ancestral links”), he has become actively involved in the community, delivering meals on wheels during the coronavirus pandemic.

He is also a trainee signalman and assistant stationmaster at Blue Anchor station on the West Somerset Railway.

The Old Cleeve and District ward encompasses a large number of villages between the Exmoor national park and the Quantock Hills area of outstanding natural beauty – including Blue Anchor and Dunster.

The other ward member, Marcus Kravis, left the Lib Dem group in early-May and now sits as an independent.

He does, however, remain portfolio holder for asset management and economic development – making him the only member of the executive from the former West Somerset area.

Polls will be open across the ward on June 17 between 7am and 10pm.

A separate by-election, for the North Curry and Ruishton ward near Taunton, will take place on June 24.

 

Words: Daniel Mumby, Local Democracy Reporter


Watch Live


Watch the channel on TV

7

Freeview

117

Sky

159

Virgin Media