Sunday, 21 April 2019

27 candidates line up for 16 seats on town council

27 candidates line up for 16 seats on town council

TWENTY-SEVEN candidates will contest 16 seats on Henley Town Council at the elections on Thursday, May 2.

The ruling Henley Residents Group and the Conservatives are both fielding six candidates in both the Henley South and the Henley North wards.

The HRG candidates include current Mayor Glen Lambert, current Deputy Ken Arlett and sitting councillors David Eggleton, Stefan Gawrysiak, Kellie Hinton, Sarah Miller and Ian Reissmann.

The party’s new candidates include Donna Crook, John Hooper, Paul Isaac, Rob Romans and Michelle Thomas.

Councillor Crook quit the Conservatives last year and then sat as independent before switching to HRG.

Mr Hooper, has been involved with AFC Henley since 1976 and is chairman of Henley Town Football Club.

Mr Isaac is a manager at the Henley 60 Plus Club and vice-chairwoman of the Gainsborough Residents’ Association. She stood for HRG in a by-election in January last year, which Cllr Crook won for the Tories.

Mr Romans is a human resources professional who specialises in global recruitment and a former member of the now defunct Henley Round Table.

Mrs Thomas works at Leander Club and co-founded the Keep Henley Active campaign to save the swimming pool at the former LA Fitness gym.

She stood for HRG in a by-election in June but lost to Conservative councillor Laurence Plant.

The only current HRG councillor not to standing again is Jane Smewing, who chairs the council’s finance committee.

The only two Tory incumbents attempting a return are Cllr Plant and former deputy mayor Will Hamilton. The party has put forward 10 new candidates after the exodus of group leader Julian Brookes, the long-serving David Nimmo Smith, Sara Abey and Sam Evans.

The new candidates include Muffin Hurst, director of Henley Children’s Theatre, Hugh Legh, a sound and lighting expert, and Karan Takhar, who owns the Takhar Wine Mart in Greys Road, who stood unsuccessfully for HRG in 2015.

There are also Upper Thames Rowing Club's director of rowing Justin Sutherland, former serviceman Ian Clark, who has lived in Henley all his life, and Simon Dunster, a director of the Henley Business Partnership.

Also nominated are environmental project manager Suzy Bannon, Rosanne Joseph-Anthony, who runs a portfolio of medical companies, Jessica Piasecki-Jarvis, who works in marketing and events, and Jezz Moore, who specialises in corporate and executive development and is a former GB juniors rowing coach.

Three other candidates are standing in North ward — Jackie Walker for Labour, former town councillor Jonathan Barter (Party Free) and Independent Conservative Lorraine Hillier, who is a sitting town councillor and chairman of South Oxfordshire District Council.

Councillor Smewing, who was elected in 2015, said she wasn’t standing again due to “sheer old age”.

“At 71, I’m actually the oldest of the HRG councillors,” she said. “I’m not tremendously fit to be honest and you have to bear in mind if you do stand you’re committing yourself for four years and it takes a lot of time and energy.”

Councillor Brookes, who was also elected in 2015 and served as mayor a year later, said: “I’ll be 70 by the election. For me, that’s time to hang up your boots.”

Speaking about his party’s candidates, he said: “It’s an exceptional range of professionals who bring a high quality to the town council.”

The political make-up of the council is currently nine HRG members, six Conservatives and one independent Conservative.

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