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Half of Thatcham Town Council to stand down

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Time for some new blood say some long-standing members, as town goes to the polls on May 5

FAMILIAR faces on Thatcham Town Council are bowing out of local politics, as half the council will not be standing for re-election on May 5.

Six Liberal Democrat and three Conservative members have chosen not to stand meaning that both the make-up and the political persuasion of the council could change.

There are 18 seats up for grabs and the current make up is 12 Liberal Democrats and six Conservatives.

One long-standing and well known councillor who has decided to call it a day is Stephanie Steevenson (Lib Dem, Thatcham Central).

She has served on the council on and off for eight years and was Thatcham mayor in 2009-10.

She said that she wanted to give someone else a chance but that she would be staying on in some of her other roles, including as the chairwoman of the Neighbourhood Action Group.

She said: “I feel it [the town council] needs people with new enthusiasms to make their impressions.

“I have simply loved it.

“The best thing was meeting the numerous members of the community.”

Another former mayor, Liberal Democrat Jenny Quince (née Weaving) will also be leaving.

She won the Thatcham West by-election in 2005, having previously been on Newbury Town Council.

She said that she was standing down owing to work and family commitments, and added: “So much has changed for me and it's a big, big commitment.

“I'm going to miss it because it has been good fun.”

Also saying goodbye is Phil Dray (Lib Dem, Thatcham West).

He said: “After 12 years and being fortunate to be mayor twice, it is time for a new set of people with new and fresh ideas to come on board.

“It has been an honour and privilege to serve the people of Thatcham.

“If circumstances were different I would do it again.”

Conservative town councillor for Thatcham West Rodney Arnold said that he would not be running as there were other things he wanted to do, such as travelling, and central ward member Jason Leake (Lib Dem), who elected in a by-election in 2008, said that he was not standing as he was now working three days a week in Bath.

He said: “I felt that I was not spending enough time in Thatcham.

“It has been very interesting and you feel like you are doing something useful.”

The other councillors not standing are deputy mayor Glyn Slater (Lib Dem, Thatcham North), Ellen Crumly (Con, Thatcham Central), Michael Dennehy (Lib Dem, Thatcham South and Crookham) and Anne Wenlock (Con, Thatcham North).

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