Councillor to step down after more than two decades

Roger Giles is standing for Ottery Town Council in the Ottery town ward. Picture: Roger Giles

Roger Giles is standing for Ottery Town Council in the Ottery town ward. Picture: Roger Giles - Credit: Archant

A man who has dedicated more than two decades of his life to improving his community is about to step down as a councillor.

Councillor Roger Giles has been on East Devon District Council (EDDC) since 1995.

This year he decided to step down after a run of 24 years in hopes to support younger blood getting on the council. He will however be continuing to run as a candidate for Ottery Town Council (OTC).

He is a big ambassador of Ottery’s heritage, being eco-friendly and campaigning to save the town’s hospital.

Cllr Giles said: “It’s time to hand over to somebody else.

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“It was in the back of my mind for some time because if I stood and got in, by the time I completed the four year term and I think it is important for people to commit to the four years, I would have been 75.”

Giles, who will still be running for a seat on the OTC, first became a councillor for Devon County Council (DCC) in 1993 before becoming an EDDC councillor in 1995.

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Giles said the make-up of EDDC is not representative of the people living there and that the age and sex profile is ‘wrong’. He added: “We need some older councillors of course but there are too many older ones and not enough younger ones.

“We need a mix of older councillors for experience and you need a mix of younger people to be more energetic.”

Giles stressed that it was important to have younger councillors as a way of engaging with the younger demographic.

He said: “Younger people tend to be the ones who don’t vote. I’m not criticising them for that, that’s not their fault. It’s our problem. We’ve got to make local government interesting and engage with them.

“As far as I’m aware, of the 59 councillors at East Devon, there is nobody below 40 and the vast majority are much older than that. You need councillors that are in their 20s, that are more in touch with younger people.

“It’s a problem to be addressed. If councils are to be relevant and engage with all the people that live in the council area then they need to engage with younger people.”

The candidates contesting the three Ottery St Mary seats on EDDC are Paul Carter, Anne Edwards, Peter Faithfull, Luke Gray, Vicky Johns, Margaret Piper, Geoff Pratt and Harv Sethi.

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