New faces on Dunmow Town Council as first election for more than a decade takes place

R4U councillors Patrick Lavelle, centre, and Rod Jones, right, who will represent Great Dunmow South

R4U councillors Patrick Lavelle, centre, and Rod Jones, right, who will represent Great Dunmow South on the town council. Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

A Dunmow father who has never stood as a councillor before received the highest number of votes in a Great Dunmow Town Council election.

An election was held in the south ward of the parish of Great Dunmow with new additions securing seats on council. There was no election for seats on the north ward, with candidates returned uncontested.

Residents for Uttlesford (R4U) candidates Patrick Lavelle and Rod Jones secured 917 and 896 votes apiece. Cllrs Lavelle and Jones, are now also district councillors for Great Dunmow South and Barnston, after success in the Uttlesford District Council election last Friday.

Alan Stratton, who will also sit on the council for the first time, secured 347 votes.

Some 10 candidates stood for the Dunmow South ward with only nine positions available, meaning Stuart Withington, who received 163 votes lost out on a place.

Councillors re-elected to the ward were Wendy Barron, Peter Childs, Mike Coleman, Danielle Frost and Carole James.

Cllr Lavelle, who received the highest number of votes in the town council election, said he stood to promote roads, footpaths and bicycle routes for the town.

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He went on: "We live in a fantastic area, lots and lots of people are coming to live here, 200 houses a year are being built in Dunmow, 480 new people each year but we are not investing in infrastucture, there is no easy access. People have to drive three or four miles round the outskirts, when they could travel half a mile.

"We need to make the town more interesting and exciting otherwise we have lots of houses and no facilities. That's what motivated me to stand."

Cllr Jones described himself as a "community-minded person" and said he wanted to protect popular walking route the Flitch Way and engage with different community groups in the area.

Cllr Stratton who has previously served as a parish councillor in Oxfordshire said more needs to be done to encourage people to shop in Dunmow High Street.

Going on, the media producer who co-owns a cafe in Dunmow High Street, said: "One of my bugbears as a small business owner on the High Street is parking. We don't do any favours in encouraging people to shop by charging for parking. We need to be doing more to encourage people to the high street."

Also elected in Dunmow South was Peter Noble.