Mark Forsyth takes over as Mayor

Mayor Mark Forsyth

Mark Forsyth (Conservative, pictured left) was appointed Chair of Council and Mayor of Bradley Stoke at last night’s Annual General Meeting of Bradley Stoke Town Council.

Cllr Forsyth was elected to the Town Council at the May 2007 election and represents the Primrose Bridge parish ward. At the time of his election, he lived in Saxon Way, but has since moved to Winterbourne – a move which he says became necessary after being given notice to quit his rented home.

“Although I no longer live here … I was elected to represent the town and that is what I intend to do”, said Cllr Forsyth during his acceptance speech.

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Forsyth said he considered a successful resolution of the youth work issues in the town to be one of his highest priorities for the year.

Benjamin Walker (Conservative), another out-out-towner, is the new Deputy Chair.

Cllr Walker lives in Little Stoke but represents the Lakeside parish ward of Bradley Stoke. He has recently been prominent in helping local people form a residents’ association to deal with local issues such as the controversy over sex film producer James Edwards, who runs a business in The Coppice.

NACC Presentation

Outgoing Mayor Robert Jones performed his final duty in office at the start of the meeting when he presented a cheque for £6993 to Georgie Bigg of the National Association for Colitis and Crohn’s Disease (NACC). The amount represents money contributed towards the Mayor’s Fund from donations or special money-raising events during the Mayor’s year in office – notably the Community Festival in June and the Fireworks Display in November.

The final fund-raising event of Cllr Jones’ year in office was a sponsored walk around the Three Brooks Local Nature Reserve last weekend [photos].

The new Mayor wasted no time in announcing his chosen charities for his year in ofice as the Bristol Dyslexia Centre and the British Limbless Ex Service Men’s Association (BLESMA). He went on to explain that his son suffers from dyslexia and has benefited from the services of the Bristol centre. The connection to BLESMA comes through the 22 years that Cllr Forsyth spent in the British Army, which included postings to Bosnia and Cyprus.

Notable absentees from the AGM were Cllr Julian Barge and spouse Dr Elizabeth Todd. Neither were in attendance at last week’s Annual Town Meeting and on both occasions no apologies are said to have been received.

Former Mayor Barge, who switched party allegiance from Lib Dem to Conservative before the last elections, has now failed to attend seven consecutive Council meetings at which he was expected, leading to speculation that there has been a rift within the ruling Conservative group.

The last meeting attended by Cllr Barge was the Finance & Leisure Committee meeting in December 2008. One of the main topics discussed at that meeting was the Council’s dispute with Northavon Bowls Club and Cllr Barge expressed his displeasure when fellow Councillors’ agreed to offer more favourable rental terms to the club that it had evicted from the Baileys Court Activity Centre earlier in the year.

Cllr Barge objected to Committee Chair Mark Forsyth’s handling of the meeting (for which Cllr Forsyth later apologised); he then left the meeting during an adjournment and has not been seen at a Council meeting since.

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