over 'politicised' selection of new town councillor for Highbridge
row has broken out over the selection of a new town councillor
for Highbridge this week after claims that the vote was "highly
Dem councillor Helen Groves claims yesterday's selection of Andy
Brewer to fill a vacant seat on the council following the recent
resignation of Alan Miller was poorly handled.
resident Andy Brewer, pictured with Mayor Cllr Martin Cox, was
chosen after a ballot of councillors.
Cllr Groves said: "I object to the manner in which this has
been carried out. The Conservatives voted on block, except for
one member, which meant Mr Brewer - a Burnham resident - won due
to the party's majority on the council."
actually needs a voice, and while the person selected is a nice
man, I understand his efforts have been focussed on Burnham both
privately and politically. I understand a person wanting to be
a councillor but the first concern and consideration should be
to the ward. Two of the other candidates had a stronger record
of work in the Highbridge area."
think it is sad that a block vote by Burnham's Conservatives determined
the councillor for Highbridge. It is democracy, but a poor spirit
Mr Brewer said he would ensure that Highbridge is well represented
during council debates. "I am very pleased to have been chosen
and look forward to a busy 11 months before next May's elections,"
he told Burnham-On-Sea.com.
Monday's Town Council meeting, councillors heard from each of
the four candidates standing for the vacant seat before making
Brewer said he has strong local community connections and has
been closely involved with the local church and has attended many
Burnham PACT meetings in recent years which, he said, mean he
is "fully in touch with the population of Burnham and Highbridge."
Keen also stood for the position, saying he has lived and worked
in Highbridge for 27 years and, as a former member of the town
council during the 1990s is familiar with how the council works.
"Highbridge is a wonderful town and it would be a great honour
to serve as its councillor," he said.
third candidate, John Parkes, told councillors he has recently
moved to Highbridge and has a strong background in local authority
work over several decades and is currently heavily involved with
the project to create a new Neighbourhood Plan for Burnham and
Highbridge. "I'm looking to support local projects which
give residents a voice," he said.
fourth candidate, Gypsy Watkins, right, told the meeting she offers
a complete alternative by "standing against the establishment
and those who are oppressed." She added: "I am against
corruption in politics and am passionate about equality and diversity."
of the four candidates was nominated and seconded by councillors
before the vote, which Mr Brewer won. He will also have a seat
on the council's planning and Princess Theatre committees.
vacancy was created last month when Alan Miller stepped down due
to poor health. A costly by-election was avoided because ten parishioners
in the Highbridge ward did not come forward. The Town Council
was then able to co-opt a member and invited expressions of interest,
leading to Monday's vote.