New Kenilworth councillor 'humbled' by voters' faith as he joins county and town councils

  Posted: 13.05.21 at 16:10 by The Editor

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A new Kenilworth town and county councillor has said that he is ‘humbled’ by the faith voters put in him at the polls last Thursday.

Conservative Cllr Richard Spencer was elected in St John’s Ward at both Warwickshire County Council and Kenilworth Town Council elections last weekend as he becomes a local councillor for the first time.

Cllr Spencer, who has worked in the automotive industry for much of his life, has taken over from fellow Conservative Alan Cockburn at county level, and filled the vacant town council seat.

Father of two, Cllr Spencer won the county election by a margin of 318 votes from Liberal Democrat Adrian Marsh. His margin of victory in the town council election over Liberal Democrat Alison Insley was 231.

He becomes one of 42 Conservative councillors at WCC, and one of three on the town council.

Speaking to Kenilworth Nub News Cllr Spencer said: “It is an extraordinary feeling to be humbled by all these people who have put their faith and their trust in me by voting, especially given I have no experience as a councillor.

Cllr Spencer is taking is first positions in local government

“Now I have to get on and do things. One of the biggest things I want people to know is that I want people to talk to me. There will be people with totally opposite political viewpoints to me, but that doesn’t mean I am not going to listen to them.

“All these people have put their faith in me, and what a responsibility that is, its massive.”

Three Priorities

Having now taken both seats, Cllr Spencer highlighted three areas that he wished to focus his attention towards.

“The hottest topic on the campaign trail was the traffic calming on Warwick Road; on social media especially,” he says.

The Greens won one of the three Kenilworth seats at WCC as the Conservatives retained their other two last week

“It doesn’t need to be enforced, it isn’t something that the town has to have, so let’s look at what the consultation has to say.

"If the consultation comes back and everyone is saying ‘we really don’t want that’ then we don’t have to have it, that’s my viewpoint on it – its not something that should be forced through.

“I certainly wont be saying it will be done, if people don’t want it.

"So if they don’t want it, lets spend the money elsewhere in the town where people do want traffic calming measures.”

His town council election campaign also focused heavily on the proposed leisure developments at Castle Farm and Abbey Fields.

The Conservative Party now holds 42 of the 57 WCC seats

“I was strong on the leisure facilities; we really need to get on with that. We have the possibility of building something new and it has taken six years to get to this point.

“During the last elections for the town council it was the swimming pool that really unseated the Conservatives, so I realised I could either stay quiet or actually make a statement.

“Yes there are problems with the planning applications, yes there are concerns with things which need sorting out, but you cant turn around and take everything off the table and start again, because we will end up with facilities that are just not fit for purpose.

“I’m not saying what is being proposed is perfect, its not, but its got to be worked through and £20million for leisure facilities in Kenilworth? I can’t say no to that.”

Cllr Spencer has also stated his commitment to planting trees across St John’s Ward, following on from the work of Alan Cockburn. He did however, stress that this would only be done “in consultation with what local residents actually want.”

Cllr Spencer (left) with Andy Metcalf (centre) and outgoing councillor Alan Cockburn (right) planting a tree on Brookside Avenue

Why run for office?

Cllr Spencer first joined the local Conservative Party in 2019, before the last general election, and was then approached in late 2020 to run for local office.

When asked why he chose to run for the Conservatives, he said: “I had swung towards the liberals because I seemed to think that locally they were doing a good job, but ultimately I realised that they were saying a lot of things and not doing a lot.”

Ultimately however, he said he decided to take the chance to run for office after years of “being active, moaning about the way things were being done locally.”

He added: “Its dead easy to sit on the fence, to moan and groan about stuff and point fingers at what has been done wrong; very few people point fingers and say ‘that has been done brilliantly, well done’.

“I just thought, well rather than be that person, the way to make change is to get involved, and that is what I have done, get off the fence and got involved.”

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