Another candidate for the local election has sent in their statement and photo for you today. It is the turn of Independent, Simon Browning, standing for Bude ward:
My name is Simon Browning, and I am standing as an independent candidate in Bude Ward in the Town Council election on May 6th. I grew up in Bude after moving here in 1984, aged 10, and studied at Budehaven School and then Plymouth University. I now live in central Bude, am married and have three children currently all at school in Bude.
I’ve spent over 20 years working in the environmental sector, specialising in monitoring water quality. In 2015 I was lucky enough to secure a job with the Westcountry Rivers Trust, a charity working to protect and restore our Westcountry rivers, which meant we could bring our family back to Bude. Shortly afterwards I joined the local Friends of the Earth group and have been an active member ever since. In 2017 I stood for Bude-Stratton Town Council after attending several council meetings as a member of the public. I was one of eleven councillors ‘elected’ unopposed.
Clean water is really important to Bude; no one wants to see red flags on the beaches because of sewer overflows or farm runoff and I was keen to contribute my knowledge in that area. In my time as a councillor, I’ve stood up for nature-friendly management of our green spaces and greater community involvement at every opportunity – a good example being the collaboration that led to the planting of the community orchard at Neetside. I led the introduction of BSTC’s first ever Environmental Policy in 2019, that included measures such as banning single-use plastics from council buildings and ending the use of glyphosate. That same year I introduced the proposal that Bude-Stratton Town Council should declare a climate emergency, which was ultimately successful and set the wheels in motion for BSTC to plan for carbon neutrality by 2030.
I’m standing alongside a group of other independents under the banner ‘Bude-Stratton Community Alliance’. The group got together to support and encourage potential candidates that have a lot to contribute but would not have put themselves forward otherwise. It is great to see such a diverse range of people standing, including parents of young children. I’m proud to have campaigned alongside some very passionate and talented people and I know that, if elected, those talents will be a huge benefit to the new council.
I’m excited by the prospect of full elections for the BSTC on May 6th; it has been far too long since the residents of Bude and Stratton chose their local representatives. I hope to be part of an optimistic and inclusive council that fully represents all sections of our community, that instinctively says ‘Yes – how can we help?’ and is welcoming of input from residents.