Businessman leads Sidmouth Town Council shakeup
07:00 01 September 2014
A father and businessman wants to spark a shake-up of Sidmouth Town Council - saying the population’s changing demographic should be better represented.
Marc Kilsbie thinks whether or not he is elected is an irrelevance, but wants to end residents’ apathy and inspire them to stand alongside him.
He believes current civic leaders do a good job but need to represent a broader section of the community to make the most of the town.
“People say there’s no point standing for council, that they will be outnumbered and won’t get anything done,” said the 48-year-old, who has run Fore Street shop Flo and Us for seven years.
“Well, I’m putting my money where my mouth is and I’m standing next May.
“Whether I get elected or not is an irrelevance but I would like to get my opinions to a larger part of the community – not because they are worth any more or any less, but because they are different.
“The councillors do a very good job but they do the things that they understand and are appropriate to their way of life.”
With the natural products and massage business he runs with wife Julie, and through raising his 13-year-old daughter, Marc said he regularly interacts with large sections of the community, so he is encouraging people from all walks of life to stand.
“It’s a few hours a month – you aren’t signing your soul away,” he said.
“I can’t believe they have to co-opt people on to the council – I would’ve thought in a community as wealthy and as proud as Sidmouth, there would be people keen to be a driving force.”
Marc and his family moved from Oxfordshire to Ottery to be close to Exeter’s then nationally-renowned mobility centre as he learned to walk again – he uses a cane after suffering frostbite.
He was employed at Luxtons but they moved to Sidmouth so Julie could expand her massage business and Marc soon retrained.
He lives above his shop, so will be standing to be the town centre ward member and believes all councillors – and politicians at all levels – should live in the area they represent.
Marc does not foresee a future in politics but has not ruled it out.
Town clerk Christopher Holland said: “I would encourage anybody who is thinking of standing to do exactly that. I think it’s healthy to have a good selection of councillors.”