New faces on Buckingham Town Council
Five new councillors were elected in the recent town council elections, with one vacancy left to fill
There are new faces on Buckingham Town Council following last week's local elections, with one vacancy remaining.
Five new councillors were elected, while 11 other councillors were either retained or re-elected to their seats on the town council.
Only one of the four wards in Buckingham - Buckingham North - was contested for the town council, with nine candidates contesting seven seats.
The elected councillors are Robina Ahmed (707 votes), Mark Cole (623 votes), Howard Mordue (753 votes), Anja Schaefer (556 votes), Martin Try (662 votes), Warren Whyte (761 votes) and Ryan Willett (527 votes).
New faces include Ryan Willett, aged 25, who works with homeless people, joins the town council having previously served on Buckingham Youth Council as a teenager.
Ryan, who plans to sit on the Environment Committee, Youth Council Committee and Buckingham Events Committee, said: "I am a young and fresh mind, who understands what the young people need, what environmental impact we can achieve and how to mitigate Buckingham's carbon footprint and what events we can achieve and maintain in our great town.
"Too often I hear from young people there is nothing for young people to do in Buckingham. I aim to start focusing on this immediately and addressing these issues, to make our young people energised, and not feel sidelined. I believe strongly that this can be done through initiatives such as the Fun Day events that used to happen on Overn Avenue Play Area and encouraging youth projects in the town like this for teenagers."
Originally from Germany, Anja Schaefer has lived in Buckingham since 1992, when she moved here as a doctoral student at the university. She now works as a senior lecturer in Management at the Open University, where she conducts research into the sustainability of small businesses. Anja said she is looking forward to using this interest and expertise in her work on Buckingham Town Council.
Robina Ahmed, who was co-opted on to the town council in July 2020, retained her seat in the elections.
She said: "I am delighted to have been elected on to Buckingham Town Council. Although I was co-opted in last summer, it is wonderful to have been chosen by the residents of Buckingham. I am very grateful.
"I have lived in Buckingham for just over 30 years, the majority of my life, and I have raised my own children here too. Both have always attended local schools.
"Buckingham has changed considerably, especially over the last decade. Like many other small towns up and down the country, we have grown exponentially. This has brought with it a number of challenges, some of which still need to be addressed.
"But if the last year has shown us anything, it is that our community spirit is stronger than ever. During the lockdowns individuals, groups and local businesses stepped up to ensure that our community was looked after.
"It is this sense of community that I would like to hold on to and develop over the coming years. From initiatives to help our young people, to those which can help the elderly, ideas which can help combat loneliness, to support for our local businesses. And so much beyond, especially our environment and addressing the climate emergency."
Warren Whyte returns to the town council after a break of seven years. He has also retained his seat on the unitary Bucks Council in the recent elections.
Warren has lived in Buckingham for 18 years and set up his architecture practice in the town. Local charities he is involved with include the Buckingham Old Gaol Museum, the Friends of Buckingham Library and BART, the new community bus for north Bucks.
He told the Advertiser: “I am honoured to have been elected to Buckingham Town Council in last week’s election. However, In the time since left the town council, it has become the most expensive local council in the whole of Buckinghamshire, yet delivers similar services as other market towns such as Princes Risborough. I think we need to focus our efforts, and work more collaboratively with Buckinghamshire Council and the new Buckingham & Villages Community Board to encourage a strong and vibrant town economy with a wide range of cultural and leisure activities for all ages.”
The other three town council wards were all uncontested.
In Buckingham South, only seven people stood for eight seats, so were elected uncontested. They are existing councillors Jon Harvey, Andy Mahi, Lisa O'Donoghue, Anthony Ralph and Robin Stuchbury, plus newcomers Ade Osibogun and Sue Hetherington,
Ade Osibogun is a lawyer who graduated from the University of Buckingham and a former Student Union president. Now studying for a PhD in Constitutional Law, he lives in Buckingham with his wife - also a lawyer - and two daughters.
Ade has also just been elected to represent Buckingham East on the unitary Buckinghamshire Council - alongside re-elected councillors Warren Whyte and Howard Mordue.
Speaking on his election to Bucks Council, Ade said: "Buckingham is such a lovely town and my family love living here, but there is a lot we can do to improve things for residents, so I will be working very hard to bring about those improvements."
Sue Hetherington has previously been a member of Gawcott Council and has a passion for the natural environment.
The town council will be able to co-opt an additional councillor for Buckingham South after the election. Anyone interested in putting themselves forward for co-option is invited to visit the town council website for more information. The deadline to apply is Friday May 28, with the decision to be made at the interim council meeting on Monday, June 7.
The Fishers Field and Highlands & Watchcroft wards each had just one candidate stand for one seat, so they were elected uncontested. The current Mayor of Buckingham, Geraldine Collins, represents Fishers Field and Margaret Gateley represents Highlands & Watchcroft.
Six previous councillors retired or were not re-elected after the election. Terry Bloomfield, Paddy Collins, Paul Hirons, Ruth Newell, Mike Smith and Christine Strain-Clark were all longstanding members who had served the town council for 116 years between them.