Cycle pathway top of wish list for Ottery's mayor

PUBLISHED: 06:55 12 June 2019

Ottery St Mary Mayor Roger Giles. Ref sho 23 19TI 5767. Picture: Terry Ife

Ottery St Mary Mayor Roger Giles. Ref sho 23 19TI 5767. Picture: Terry Ife

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A cycling path through Ottery and engaging young people are among the top priorities of the town's new mayor.

Ottery St Mary Mayor Roger Giles. Ref sho 23 19TI 5762. Picture: Terry IfeOttery St Mary Mayor Roger Giles. Ref sho 23 19TI 5762. Picture: Terry Ife

Roger Giles was voted in to the top role at Ottery Town Council last month and has spoken of his aims for the next year.

Among them is to assist a group of volunteers working towards creating a new cycle way along the old Ottery railway which will take in the Otter Valley countryside from Feniton through to Sidmouth.

The mayor said: "If I had a magic wand and could wave it, the first thing I would want is to turn the old Ottery railway line into a cycle way.

"People could enjoy the countryside. People would come from London and other places and get off at Feniton and have a few days cycling and they will spend their money in pubs, shops and restaurants. It will be off road so young people can learn to ride in a safe environment.

Ottery St Mary Mayor Roger Giles. Ref sho 23 19TI 5753. Picture: Terry IfeOttery St Mary Mayor Roger Giles. Ref sho 23 19TI 5753. Picture: Terry Ife

"That is the project I would be concentrating on to make some progress and deliver within a year or two.

He spoke of his aim to reach out to electorates in and outside of Ottery town by holding meetings in village halls in the area and engage more with young people, especially on issues such as climate change,

This week, the town council announced a climate change emergency and urged people to come forward and help work towards a carbon free future.

Before being elected on to Ottery Town Council in 1991, Cllr Giles first foray into politics was as an environmental activist for Friends of the Earth.

The former county and district councillor said: "It's their future. I'm not going to be here but they might be for 50 or 60 years. It's a big issue and we as a town council can look at how do things a bit different to reach out to people.

"What the town council need to do is to reach out and engage with young people and talk to them and find what they want and how the town council can help so that young people have involvement in council. One of my key things is to work to develop that and have a close relationship.

"My thing is we need to get more young people involved with the town council, we have nobody under 40. It's up to us to do something and ask people to come along and consider being a councillor."

Following May's election, five new councillors were elected to Ottery Town Council and the new mayor hopes he can encourage them to bring and develop ideas to support the town.

Cllr Giles said: "We have lots of new councillors and younger councillors and they will have some energy and some new ideas. I would try to encourage all of the councillors to pay a part in the community they represent and for the newer ones to develop their new ideas. That's a big part of what I would like to do."

"I hope they feel they are at home and they feel comfortable. What the town council is doing and what they want the council to do. It's important the people come to the town council and tell us what they think."

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