THERE are two new faces representing the Chew Valley on Bath and North East Somerset Council, as two Lib Dem candidates replaced the sitting Conservative councillors.
Long-standing Chew Valley councillor, and leader of the Conservatives in the council, Vic Pritchard, said he did not expect last month’s local election result, which saw the Conservatives “wiped out”.
Fellow Conservative and the other councillor representing the Chew Valley, Karen Warrington, also lost the seat she had held since 2015.
Mr Pritchard, who lost his seat after 36 years, said: “I didn’t know we would get wiped out. I thought there was an outside chance of us taking control or being in a hung regime. I thought we would have done reasonably well in Bath. We couldn’t have done very much worse. We have only got three seats now.”
Speaking about losing his Chew Valley seat, which was the last seat on the night to declare in a bitter final blow for the Conservatives, Mr Pritchard said: “I have been doing it for 36 years and suddenly its taken away. It’s quite a vacuum to fill.”
He said that, in his time on the council, he had been most proud of what the Conservatives had done with social care when they ran the council.
The Chew Valley is now represented on B&NES by LibDem councillors Cllrs Anna Box and David Harding.
Anna is an NHS community physiotherapist and David is a former NHS paediatrician. Anna loves walking with her family and dogs in the Valley, cooking and is training for the Chew Valley 10k.
David loves nature, gardening and cycling.
Both are involved in local environmental groups and “care passionately” about the environment and the community they live in.
In a joint statement, they said: “We would like to thank our predecessors Karen Warrington and Vic Pritchard for their work as councillors serving the Chew Valley.
“We promise to work hard for the people of the valley and the Parishes and prove worthy of the humbling responsibility placed in us.
“In the last 18 months we have had nearly 2,000 doorstep conversations with residents and we promise to continue talking with people, listening on the doorstep and in local meetings. We will keep in touch all year round - not just near an election.
“We won’t be able to sort everything, nor please everybody but we promise we will stand up for our villages and the Chew Valley, get funds to improve roads (not just repair them), act to improve road safety, increase speeding enforcement, increase litter picking along the Valley’s A and B roads, continue to report all fly tipping, help find small grants for village community projects, and assist people and groups in dealing with the council.
“On the wider issues we will work with B&NES, The Chew Valley Area Forum, and local groups to deliver on Climate Action and the ecological emergency. We will continue to support protection of the Green Belt, oppose in any way we can the further expansion of Bristol Airport that threatens to blight the valley with aircraft noise and cars and the dumping of sewage in the local rivers. We will pressure WECA whenever new funding is announced to improve rural transport - the imminent loss of our last bus the 672 has rightly upset so many people who depended on this service and we will push B&NES to help provide council and truly affordable housing for local people.
“We are very much a team and will work together on many issues, but as a first point of call Anna will serve the Parishes of Stowey Sutton, Compton Martin, Ubley and Nempnett Thrubwell and Dave Chew Stoke, Chew Magna, Norton Malreward and Stanton Drew. We hope that by working with our friends, neighbours and fellow residents we can continue to help keep the Chew Valley a safe, green, healthy and happy place to live.” ν