FOUR people from one estate in Watlington, including three from one street, have been elected to
FOUR people from one estate in Watlington, including three from one street, have been elected to the parish council, writes David White.
Terry Jackson, Jo Read, Jane Bryant and Jeremy Bell, who live on the Marlbrook estate, won seats in last week’s election.
It comes two months after about 80 residents of the estate attended a public meeting to complain that they hadn’t been properly consulted on the town’s neighbourhood plan.
The town has been allocated 79 new homes to be built by 2027 under South Oxfordshire District Council’s core strategy but this number could rise.
The residents were also concerned that a new link road going through the estate could be built.
Mrs Jackson said this week: “When the Marlbrook upset happened and there was a meeting on the green I said, ‘while I’ve got a lot of people here is anyone willing to stand for the council?’
“It may have acted as a bit of a catalyst for me to stand but the main thing was just wanting new faces.
“When the residents realised they hadn’t been aware of the neighbourhood plan and hadn’t known about it before the questionnaire came round, I think something clicked and they thought, ‘we need to get more involved in the town’.
“I think it was time for a change and it’s quite exciting.”
Council chairman Ian Hill said: “Getting new blood on to the council is always a good idea.
“I’m quite encouraged that we have quite a large number of new people coming in. In terms of the concentration on Marlbrook, I am a bit concerned.”
Mr Hill said that rather than having a single interest, all members needed to be prepared to “pull their weight” and help with the council’s workload.
He added: “If they are only interested in the neighbourhood plan, and that’s obviously why they have stood, it’s going to be difficult to carry out other activities.
“But I’m quite happy to work with them and see how things go. It’s going to be a very different-looking council.”
Meanwhile, three candidates in the election received almost 750 votes despite asking people not to vote for them.
Rhian Woods, Nick Hancock and Neil Boddington, who had been serving members, tried to withdraw from the poll but not until after the closing date for nominations so their names still appeared on the ballot paper. Mrs Woods received 322 votes, Mr Boddington 214 and Mr Hancock 212 but none was enough to cause re-election.
The trio decided they no longer wanted to be on the council because of what they claimed was “uncertainty” over the town’s neighbourhood plan. They were all members of the council’s neighbourhood plan core committee.
There were 21 candidates and Cllr Hill was re-elected along with fellow incumbents Elizabeth Winton, Bob West, Robin Wilson and Tony Williamson. Tim Horton failed to be re-elected.
There are five other newcomers â?? Tom Bindoff, Roger Beattie, Rachel Huckvale, Matt Reid and Jon Lorimer. The results were as follows:
Jo Read 651 votes; Liz Winton 650; Bob West 599; Tom Bindoff 590; Ian Hill 577; Terry Jackson 445; Jane Bryant 437; Roger Beattie 431; Rachel Huckvale 418; Robin Wilson 417; Matt Reid 411; Jeremy Bell 390; Jon Lorimer 389; Tony Williamson 386.
Timothy Richard Horton 372 votes; Rob Smith 361; Gus McFadyen 358; Rhian Woods 322; Alastair Stevenson 268; Neil Michael Boddington 214; Nicholas Martin Hancock 212.