Businessman vows to shake-up council
- Credit: Archant
A PROMINENT Weston businessman has vowed to shake up what he describes as the ‘disgusting state’ of North Somerset Council after winning a seat on the authority in a by-election.
Puxton Park owner Derek Mead emerged victorious from the Weston and North Worle ward ballot last week – securing a seat on both Weston Town Council and North Somerset, after the spot was left vacant by Philip Judd’s resignation in June.
After scoring 531 votes for the district role and 243 for the town’s position, the new independent councillor said he was shocked by the number of people who believed he was the man for the jobs.
He said: “There were a lot of people by the polling booth that came out, shook my hand and said you’ve got my vote, which I was very surprised about.
“I think the others were surprised that so many did that too.”
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Cllr Mead fought off competition from five other candidates for the North Somerset role including Conservative Richard Nightingale, who came second with 471 votes, plus Labour’s Denise Hunt, Liberal Democrat Edward Keating, UKIP’s Steven Pearse-Danker and Independent Rachel Ling.
In his first interview with the Mercury as a councillor, the would-be Tropicana developer admitted the crumbling, former pool was one of the reasons why he became a candidate but knows there are other issues that need improving.
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He said: “It is partly one of the reasons I went in, and it’s partly because of the disgusting state the council (North Somerset) is in. It is not utilising its assets properly.
“The public is very passionate about the Trop but it’s not the only issue.
“We need more employment in Weston and if we can get a university here that would be great.
“Above all I think local businesses want some more support from North Somerset. Not necessarily money-wise but when they want to expand, things need to be fast-tracked.”
But Cllr Mead said he is not interested in arguing with council bosses, but is looking forward to using his experience to help the town.
He added: “I would rather get things sorted out with them and utilise my experience.
“I’m very much looking forward to tackling the issues in the town too.
“We needed someone on both the town and district that believes in Weston, I think too much emphasis has gone on the North of Somerset.
“North and East Worle is my patch and where I was born. I know a lot of people in that area and they know me for what I am, a forceful businessman.
“Above all I want to thank all the people that voted for me.”
Results for the North Somerset seat
Derek Mead - Independent - 531
Richard Nightingale - Conservative - 471
Denise Hunt - Labour - 445
Edward Keating - Liberal Democrats - 321
Steven Pearse-Danker - UKIP - 220
Rachel Ling - Independent - 93
Results for Weston Town Council seat
Derek Mead - Independent - 243
Denise Hunt - Labour - 204
Sarah Harp - Conservative - 160
Robert Blackmore - UKIP - 118
Christopher Howell - Liberal Democrat - 108