Council shake-up brings more diversity and debate, say newly elected councillors (From The Oxford Times)

DIVERSITY and debate will be at the heart of a town council say newly elected councillors.

Thursday’s by-election saw a shake-up of Didcot Town Council as four labour candidates and one independent was elected to represent residents.

Simon Hewerdine, who championed the campaign to save Ladygrove Parks and green spaces, said he was delighted to have won the Ladygrove seat and welcomed the more diverse council.

He said: “It really is a privilege to be able to represent residents in Ladygrove.

“With the election, it has made the town council more politically diverse which is brilliant as it opens up the opportunity for more debate.

“However I do want to see more diversity in terms of the people running.

“We can’t just have ageing white men like me just on the council and I hope in my time as councillor I can help encourage more people from more diverse background get involved.”

Mr Hewerdine says as well as representing Ladygrove residents, his top priority is ensuring the town council shapes the Didcot Garden Town proposals as much as possible along residents’ wishes.

Labour also maintained its grasp on the Didcot South east seat on South Oxfordshire District Council after veteran councillor Margaret Davies stepped down earlier this year.

Her successor Mokbul, or Mocky as he is known, Khan will also be representing residents on Northbourne ward at the town council.

The 39-year-old marketing consultant said: “I have lived in Didcot for the last three years and slowly become more and more involved in different campaigns and community groups.

“It all really started when I got myself an allotment and became involved with the Didcot Allotment Association when the town council was reviewing its green spaces.

“Now with more of a range of political voices on the town council we will be able to have a debate on issues, rather than things being passed through without question.

“One of the first issues I will be concentrating on is protecting Lloyd Road fields as it is in my area as Didcot South councillor.”

Conservative Ian Snowdon was elected as the councillor for Didcot West.

Also elected to the town council were Maria Augustine for Northbourne ward, Nick Hards for Orchard ward and Denise Macdonald for All Saints Ward.

There will be an extraordinary meeting of the town council on Monday to form a response to the Didcot Garden Town plans.