JUST two votes separated winner and loser at last week’s by-election in Shipston-on-Stour.
The town now has two new councillors— well-known landlady Sheelagh Saunders and retired computer consultant Martin Ferrier.
Mrs Saunders, who runs the Horseshoe Inn and the Black Horse in Shipston and the George Inn in Lower Brailes, topped Thursday’s poll with 550 votes.
Mr Ferrier was also elected with 396 votes, narrowly beating the third contestant, Dan Scobie, who received 394 votes. It was the first by-election in Shipston for 13 years.
“Utterly delighted” to be elected, Mrs Saunders, who is also a part-time front of house duty manager at the RSC theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, said: “In my capacity as a local landlady, and having lived in town for many years, I know many people so I do hear all points of view from all walks of life.
"I’m looking forward to the opportunity of channeling the thoughts of residents to the council.”
When asked what they hoped to achieve, both new councillors focused on the impact new houses would have on the town.
Mr Ferrier, who was pleased to be elected despite only living in Shipston for two years, said: “Shipston has had a lot of new housing in recent years and potentially has significantly more to come.
"At the same time our medical practice and schools are nearly full. We have increasing parking problems in the town, and no evening bus service. We are also losing jobs from the town.
"This is not in my opinion a sustainable position. My aim as town councillor will be to work for sustainable growth in Shipston and be part of an open and listening town council.”
The controversial application to build a supermarket and a petrol station on the edge of town includes 54 houses and 130 retirement homes on land north of Campden Road.
Across the road, Banner Homes have applied to build 70 homes on land adjacent to Oldbutt Road.
Mrs Saunders added: “As a businesswoman in the town I’m interested in promoting tourism and business and keeping Shipston a vibrant place to live.
“We need to expand the medical centre and the schools, because the town is under pressure from increased development
“I am realistic that there will be development, you cannot halt change and expansion, these things will happen, but it needs to be in a fashion that suits the majority of the people.”
The electorate for Shipston is 4,357 and turnout for the election was 20 per cent.
The last contested town council election was in May 2000 when the turnout was 43 per cent.
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