THE four vacant seats on Greenham Parish Council are to be filled by four Liberal Democrats.
When nominations closed at 4pm on Thursday, August 25, West Berkshire Council had received only four nominations, so those candidates were elected unopposed.
Jon Gage, Paul Inman, Dr Meg Thomas and Balu Sudra will join long-standing Liberal Democrats Billy Drummond, Julian Swift-Hook, Arthur Johnson and Phil Barnett as members of Greenham Parish Council.
Newbury and West Berkshire Liberal Democrats chairwoman, Dr Sue Farrant, said: “I was astonished that no other political party nor any independent candidate wanted to seize this opportunity to serve the people of Greenham Parish but I know these four new councillors will bring a range of essential skills to the important work of the council.”
Mr Swift-Hook said: “Now, more than ever, the council needs a fresh injection of skills and energy and Jon, Paul, Meg and Balu will bring a diversity of experience from their different backgrounds as well as a real commitment to the community.”
Meet your new counciilors:
Jon Gage: A resident of Newbury for 12 years, Mr Gage is a director of a local landscaping materials company.
He says he is a firm believer in the importance of education for future generations and wants to campaign for more investment in schools and says he will actively support work experience and apprenticeship schemes.
Mr Gage is also a member of the Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT), a keen gardener and an amateur triathlete.
Paul Inman: Mr Inman lives in Greenham parish with his wife and two-year-old son. An IT specialist, his work takes him all over the world, but he says he loves coming home and being able to go with his family up to Greenham Common for the fresh air and open spaces.
He said: “I wanted to join Greenham Parish Council because I have been saddened by the way the council has been working recently, its secrecy, its in-fighting and its inability to make progress with things that matter to local people.
“I am prepared to put time and energy into serving the community I am part of. I love the control tower project that was part of a Liberal Democrat vision and I would like to help make this a reality.”
Balu Sudra: Mr Sudra was born in Kenya. He has always been a British citizen and has lived and worked the UK since 1968, initially in London and for the last 26 years in West Berkshire.
He said: “My professional life has been in accountancy and that of my partner in comprehensive education, so I have insights into both the private and the public sectors.
“Now retired, I relish my new freedom to serve as a Greenham parish councillor and to undertake other voluntary work, for example, for St John Ambulance and for the National Trust.
“I am greatly interested in our local environment in Greenham, finely balanced as it is between town and country and I will work to preserve the best of both.
Meg Thomas: Dr Thomas is originally from Manchester and has lived in Newbury since 1997. She is a retired GP and practised in Newbury until 2009.
She said: “As a Greenham parish councillor I will work to deliver the control tower project, protect the green gap between Newbury and Greenham and oppose any further attempts to close children’s centres.”
Dr Thomas has been active in the Brownies in the past and currently volunteers at West Berkshire Museum and Sandham Memorial Chapel. She is also a member of the West Berkshire Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA).