Three candidates are campaigning to win next week’s town council by-election, which will appoint a new councillor for Melksham East ward. The by-election follows the resignation of former councillor, Louisa Lewis, in April this year. Polls will open for residents of the Melksham East ward to vote on Thursday 13th July. Candidates campaigning to take the seat are; Ryan Clarke, (Independent); Geoff Mitcham (Independent) and Jennie Westbrook (Liberal Democrats).
When I last stood for council in 2021, I promised voters in Melksham East that I would make a voice for the local LGBT+ community. Despite not winning I kept that promise, founding Proud Melksham. A charity that’s spent the last two years supporting local, often vulnerable groups of people in our community. I brought Melksham Pride to our town and in the last two years, our event has welcomed thousands of people from across the region to Melksham. Showcasing the diverse and inclusive community we are.
I’ve lived in the Melksham East ward for the last ten years. When I talk to residents about issues they face, I get it. I’ve experienced many of the same issues; internet service; Greensquare charges; vandalism; youths peddling drugs on scooters; lack of lighting at night.
Of the three candidates standing in this election, I am the only one who actually lives here in Melksham East. In fact, there isn’t a single councillor in town or county council already elected to represent this ward, who actually lives here, some don’t even live in Melksham. I find that astonishing and it needs to change.
I’m standing as an independent candidate. I don’t have the machine of a large political party behind me, paying for multiple leaflets through your door, or a team of volunteers out canvassing on my behalf, in an attempt to buy this election like other candidates. I am just one man, working to try and improve the lives of people locally.
My name is Geoff Mitcham and I’m standing as an independent candidate for Melksham East Ward.
I’ve been a town councillor on and off for around 20 years and been involved with many projects in that time including, more recently, the Splash Pad and play area in the park; but my main passion has always been the Assembly Hall, being a user myself and a Friend of Melksham Assembly Hall.
I was also deputy mayor during the lockdown period. My reason for wanting to stand is the frustration with the current council. I was a member of the previous council and we made plans for all kinds of projects, but they came to a grinding halt after the last election and things still aren’t getting done. They seem to spend a lot of time talking rather than doing.
My son lives in the ward and I spend a lot of time walking his golden retriever around the area, so I meet people and chat to them, so I am aware of a lot of the problems on the estate. I don’t intend to knock on doors and I’m saving trees by not putting pieces of paper through your door. I don’t believe politics should play any part in local councils, which is why I’m standing as an independent candidate.
My other interests include an involvement with Melksham Music and Drama, chairman of the Rachel Fowler Centre and I am the promoter of Melksham Rock ‘n’ Roll Club. I also volunteer part-time in Melksham Tourist Information Centre, so I am committed to Melksham as a whole.
I’m Jennie Westbrook and I’m the Lib Dem candidate for the Melksham East by-election.
Why am I the best choice? Melksham is a special town, I was brought up here, I went to both Lowbourne and George Ward schools and currently live on Sandridge Road. I’ve moved away a few times, but I always come back home to Melksham. It’s a town full of incredible people, with a community spirit that is hard to rival. But Melksham has its challenges and the Lib Dem team have been hearing about them, both in residents’ surveys, and on your doorstep. From these conversations, I launched my Five to Thrive campaign. Five missions to make sure Melksham East, and the wider town, thrives:
- Improve infrastructure – Ensure that the infrastructure that residents have been promised is delivered. Including discussions on any new developments
- Sort our local play areas – Make sure that our local play areas are well maintained by both GreenSquare and the local council
- Reducing speeding in Melksham East – Lobby Wiltshire Council to get improved speed limit signage in the local area
- The future of Cooper Tires – Make sure that any future development on the site is for the benefit of the whole town
- Get the town council moving – The town council needs to be more transparent and start to focus on delivering value for money for local people.
I have the experience and passion to be a true local champion and make sure Melksham East thrives.