Meet the Ottery St Mary Rural election candidates
PUBLISHED: 07:00 18 September 2018
Residents will be able to quiz candidates ahead of voting next week in a by-election to choose a new representative for the Ottery St Mary rural ward.
A by-election was called after Matt Coppell was forced to step down after failing to attend a single meeting in six months.
West Hill Parish Council will host the hustings at West Hill village hall tonight (Friday) from 7.30pm ahead of the election on September 20.
All five candidates have been invited to attend the hustings which will be chaired by Margaret Hall, Chair of West Hill Parish Council. The candidates will be invited to make an introductory statement before members of the public are invited to ask questions.
Standing in the election is John Sheaves of the Conservative party, Richard May for Labour, Nick Benson for the Liberal Democrats, Margaret Bargmann for the Green Party and Independent Geoff Pratt.
There are four polling stations, at Aylesbeare Village Hall, Escot Village Hall, West Hill Village Hall and Tipton St John Community Centre.
Geoff Pratt - Independent:
“I was co-opted onto Ottery St. Mary Town Council in July 2014. In May 2015 I was elected to serve as a town councillor for the Tipton St John Ward.
I am a property lawyer by profession and have lived in Wiggaton for the past 11 years.
I was a Founder member of the Ottery St Mary & West Hill Neighbourhood Plan Working Group and attended public consultation meetings at West Hill, Tipton St John and Wiggaton, and with colleagues helped to form the Plan.”
Richard May - Labour:
I have lived in East Devon for the past four years with my partner and our two sons, we live in a council house.
I am a carer for my partner, and we are a working class family. I know all about heard time-when we first moved to the area we just survived with the help of the local foodbank. So when you tell me of your concerns it will be in the knowledge that you are not alone.
I will be more then just a name in the council chamber I will be a voice for you.
Nick Benson - Liberal Democrat:
Liberal Democrats seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community and balance is what I’ll pursue if you elect me for the remaining seven months of this Council.
I’ve had the good fortune to live near Ottery St Mary for 21 years, to see my two sons educated at the King’s School and to work, from home, as a free-lance business lawyer.
With your vote and help from the Liberal Democrats, I’d like to turn my good fortune and my pursuit of balance into a benefit for the Ottery St Mary Rural Ward.
Margaret Bargmann - Green Party:
I have lived with my family in Ottery St Mary for 12 years. I am presently teaching English to speakers of other languages, at home and in language schools across Devon. I have worked as a nurse for nearly 30 years until training up as a teacher, several years ago.
As a Green party candidate I am not bound by any vested interests, and by voting Green the community will get a representative who will fight for local people and will stand up for local services, local buisnesses and protecting the beautiful Devon environment. This is an opportunity for a greener Devon future.
John Sheaves - Conservative:
“I feel passionately about the area – it is a fabulous place to live with great communities and wonderful businesses which make up our rural economy and beautiful countryside. With your vote, you can be sure that I will work on your behalf, I will seek your views first on these important subjects and will always seek common sense solutions to the challenges that we face. I pledge to bring a balanced approach to the task ahead and will seek to work with others in a conciliatory not confrontational way to work through these challenges.”