Residents of Clare have chosen Robin Stone to fill the vacant seat on their town council.
A by-election, prompted by the resignation of long-serving councillor Alan Parsley, took place on Thursday, with 45 per cent of Clare’s 1,732 electorate turning out to have their say.
“I don’t know why I’ve got it, probably because people know I say it as it is,” said Cllr Stone, who was at the count at the Old School Community Centre, in Callis Street, to hear the result.
“I’m not a politician, I’m a doer,” he said, adding that he was ‘looking forward’ to getting started in his new role.
The father-of-two, who owns Market Hill Antiques and is the managing director of Clare Auction, said he wanted to listen to residents and put forward their views at council meetings.
He is also keen to raise the town’s profile and promote its independent businesses.
“We’ve got a beautiful town here and some fantastic assets but we’re just not marketing it,” he said.
Thursday’s by-election marked what is now thought to be residents’ first chance to vote locally for 14 years, with previous elections having gone uncontested and casual vacancies having been filled by co-option, where existing councillors choose a new councillor.
Cllr Stone said: “I’m the only councillor on the council elected by the people – the others have all been co-opted on.”
It was a close contest between Cllr Stone, who pulled in 398 votes, and fellow Clare candidate Richard Smith, who received 357.
A total of 27 votes were recorded for Braintree resident and Clare businesswoman Paula Rippingale.