Elections 2019

Elections were held on Thursday 2nd May 2019 for Welcombe Parish Council and Torridge District Council.

The five statements from the five elected councillors are below.

Ben Arkless

My name is Ben Arkless, and I am a builder and own my own business.

I have lived in Welcombe for nearly 15 years with my wife Lisa who works at the local primary school. We have two boys aged 6 & 4 and have recently welcomed a baby girl to complete our family.

Before moving to Welcombe I was born and bred in Hartland so I have nearly 40 years knowledge of the area along with my wife’s family who have lived here for nearly 90 years.

It’s in all our interests to help preserve Welcombe’s uniqueness whilst providing for the future generations who love this area.

Therefore, I very much hope I can be allowed to continue as a councillor for Welcombe.

Richard Bence

I moved to Welcombe 12 years ago with my family. We have all enjoyed being part of this special community and been actively involved in many of its groups and organisations over the years.

I have been a Parish Councillor here for nine years, more recently as chair. I care passionately about the village and its community. I believe I demonstrate a creative, energetic drive balanced with a firm commitment and a receptive ear to strategies, no matter how popular or contentious.

There are many challenges ahead. Central to this is how we ensure we have a sustainable population in the village. The Parish Council also needs to demonstrate how it can be more relevant to the community it serves.

I hope you will re-elect me so that I can actively support the needs of the community in the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

Michael (Mick) Gates

Since moving to Welcombe with our young family in 2017, my wife Tracy and myself have fallen in love with the village and the area in general. We were instantly made to feel welcome by everyone and as we became more and more involved with the community we realised what a special place it is.

My motivation to stand as parish councillor stems from my view that you get from life what you put into it. As Parish Councillor I intend to fulfil my role by representing needs of the village as a whole, whilst balancing that with the needs of the environment and helping the community do its bit with regards to wider issues such as climate change, working toward becoming plastic free and improving, where possible, the availability of social housing.

Murrough McHugh

Hi my name is Murrough Mc Hugh of the Old Smithy Inn, Welcombe. I have a professional background in education and community work and am standing for the Parish Council in the upcoming election.

I believe that those of us who are lucky enough to live in Welcombe need to plan how to slowly develop and grow our community over the coming years in order to achieve longer term balance and sustainability. As a businessman I hope to represent the interests of business/ agriculture in the area.

Christopher (Chris) Underwood

My name’s Chris Underwood, I am 41 years old, married to Lydia Underwood and father to Maisy aged 9 and Rufus aged 5.

Following a nomadic existence working in the wine industry for many years my multi-generational family settled here six years ago to raise our family and run our business. Living and working here as part of an extended family in our friendly and spirited community presents many joys but I am able to see first hand that is not without its challenges for all generations, from the fight to restore the playground to the lack of affordable housing, and poor transport links.

There’s no doubt that the benefits outweigh the downsides but I would look forward to being able to help address some of these issues as part of the Parish Council and make an ongoing contribution to the place we call home.

Torridge District Council Elections

This year Welcombe is affected by boundary changes in the Torridge District Council Elections. Previously Welcombe was in the Hartland and Bradworthy ward which elected 2 councillors and covered the parishes of Welcombe, Hartland and Bradworthy.

After a Boundary Commission review a new ward called Hartland has been created. This ward is represented by 3 councillors and the ward has been expanded to cover the parishes of Welcombe, Hartland, Bradworthy, Sutcombe, Clovelly Woolfardisworthy (Woolsery) and Parkham.

The elected councillors are:

  • Richard Boughton (Conservative)
  • Anna Dart (Independent)
  • Stephen Harding (Conservative)