Friday, 18 February 2011

Election fever is mounting

IT would seem that election fever is starting to gain momentum in Lyme Regis with just over two months before we go to the polls to elect a new town council and two district representatives.

Everywhere I go people ask me about the latest candidates to declare their intention - so here’s the state of play as I see it.

On the district council front, only two candidates have declared their intention for the two seats - existing member Daryl Turner and seafront businessman George Symonds, both standing on a Tory ticket. I also expect the town’s other sitting member, wine merchant Pat Hicks, to stand again.

I have heard one more name mentioned - someone who takes a keen interest in council affairs - but he has yet to go public.

And I’m sure the Liberal Democrats will be putting up a candidate so I am confident there will be an election for the district council seats. There’s absolutely no doubt that there will be a town council contest; in fact, if all those I’ve heard are standing decided to do so, there could be as many as 22 candidates for the 14 available seats, which will make the voting slip the longest for many years.

The latest rumour is that George Symonds, who has been waging a long battle with the town council over seafront rents, may well put his name forward for the town election as well as the district. Mark Gage, a member of the lifeboat crew and a staunch supporter of the new youth club, has also indicated that he intends to stand for the town council.

There’s talk also that Anita Killingback (nee Williams), daughter of long-serving councillor Stan Williams and one of the leading lights in the fight to save our library, may be making an attempt to follow in her father’s footsteps.

Only two existing town councillors have confirmed they will not be standing again - Ken Meech and David Cozens MBE.

I expect all or most of the remaining 12 existing councillors to seek re-election (including Pete Williams who I thought might stand stand down after long service), although some have told me they are still considering their positions. That probably means they will go for another four-year term.

So with the other declared candidates (Terry O’Grady, Chris Clipson, Rikey Austin and Duncan Lay), I think we can safely say there will be a contest.

But local government is a fickle business and it could all change by next week.

More priceless publicity for our town

FROM time to time this column highlights the priceless publicity Lyme Regis receives from various forms of media. Rarely a week passes without Lyme being featured in a national newspaper or popular magazine.

I was interested to learn this week from Eleanor Bursey, general manager at the excellent The Mill Tea and Dining Room at the Town Mill, that Lyme will be featured heavily in the March issue of Country Living.

The Town Mill seafront and Cobb will be seen in an eight-page fashion spread with Eleanor modelling spring and summer collections.

Eleanor tells me she was touched by the support shown, adding: “Local businesses were only too happy to lend items for the shoot, which will hopefully prove excellent advertising for all involved.

“Susie Cole and Sublyme were kind enough to lend some fantastic vintage accessories that set off some of the outfits beautifully.”

A team of eight professionals, including stylists and photographers, stayed at The Bay Hotel, which was used as a base for the day. The magazine crew moved around the town on foot, taking pictures of local features and architectural details in addition to the fashion shots and were lucky enough to see one of Lyme’s beautiful sunsets.”

Fishmonger at the cutting edge

YOU can always rely on Lyme's entrepreneurial fishmonger Simon Bennett to stay ahead of the game.

Simon runs the Old Watch House fish shop down at the Cobb and also has an outlet at Miller’s Farm Shop at Kilmington.

He rarely misses a trick when it comes to marketing and his comical signboards outside his shop always amuse the visitor.

Simon now tells me that he’s now rebuilt the fish shop website which can be accessed on your mobile allowing customers to view his fishcounter by webcam on your iPhone. It will also be easier to contact your favourite fishmonger by email, text messaging and other phone options.

Simon also displays at various farmers markets around the area and it will now be possible to see where he is on which days by using an interactive map.

The technology also allows customers to see Simon’s filleting and preparation videos.

This is a classic example of how new-age technology can help boost the image of a traditional seaside business.

For more details go to the

IT was brave of Councillor Lucy Campbell to declare her anti-royalist feelings at last week’s council meeting when she voted against spending public money on celebrating the forthcoming royal wedding.

She prefixed her comments by stating “I know I will be the only one thinking like this” but had the guts to stick to her principles.

I’m a bit of a royalist myself so I don’t agree with her views (I hope the kids do get a suitable commemorative gift) but I admire her for making her views known - especially in an election year. On the other hand, it may win her some votes.

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