Community alliance takes control of Bude-Stratton Town Council

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image copyrightSian Dearing
image captionSiân Dearing is one of the new councillors on Bude and Stratton Town Council

A community alliance has taken control of a council where members previously gained their seats without elections.

In 2017 with 18 seats to fill and only 13 candidates they were all automatically elected to Bude-Stratton Town Council in north Cornwall.

Ahead of the local elections on 6 May, residents formed the Bude Stratton Community Alliance (BSCA) to encourage more people to get involved.

This led to a total of 33 candidates with 11 of 18 BSCA candidates elected.

The new approach has brought fresh faces among those who will lead the council for the next four years, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Siân Dearing, a BSCA member and young mother from Poughill, who was elected, said: "We want the council to be the positive, supportive heart of the community, creating a dynamic, inclusive atmosphere in which we all work together to make things better for everyone.

"We need to look after Bude for our children, whether that's by dealing with climate change, supporting activities and jobs for young people, or safeguarding the biodiversity and beauty of our countryside and coastline."

Robert Uhlig stood under the BSCA umbrella and had previously been a member of the town council since 2019.

He explained that the BSCA was formed as part of the Flatpack Democracy movement which is encouraging more people to get involved in their local town and parish councils.

'Shake-up'

Mr Uhlig said residents felt the decisions the council was making were not in the interests of the people.

There were about 40 people involved with the BSCA and 18 put themselves forward for the election - enough for each seat at the council.

Mr Uhlig said: "We are all independent - while we might all be in the BSCA there will be no block voting and councillors will act independently."

image copyrightMartin Dorey
image captionMartin Dorey is an environmental campaigner and a newly-elected councillor

He said the public response had been "fantastic" and said there had been support for the town council to "have a bit of a shake-up".

He said: "We are a community-led council, led by the community for the community. We will be consulting on all issues."

Martin Dorey, an author and founder of Bude-based charity The 2 Minute Foundation, was another of the BSCA members to be elected.

He said: "We believe councils should instinctively say 'Yes, how can we help?', and we think councillors should represent the community to the council, not the other way round."

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