A SLEIGHTS tree surgeon was elected on to Scarborough Borough Council last Thursday.
Guy Coulson (47), of Iburndale Lane, was the Conservative candidate for the Esk Valley by-election and was elected after polling 606 votes, more than double the total received by all the other candidates..
After the loss of his wife three years ago the widower, who also sits on Eskdale-cum-Ugglebarnby Parish Council, has focussed his efforts on improving the local area for the next generation.
This includes his 12-year-old son Samuel, a pupil at Eskdale school, who played his part by handing out leaflets before the election.
A landscape gardener and tree surgeon, Coun Coulson said he was “chuffed” with the support he received.
He added: “When it’s finally announced and it’s such a big majority you think ‘Oh, that’s why I’m doing it, because I’m the right person to fill this position’.”
Esk Valley is a Conservative stronghold, but this time Coun Coulson believes that there were added factors that led to his election. He was the only candidate that lives in the ward boundaries, and through his parish council dealings he is well-known in the community.
“Speaking to people before the election, people who wouldn’t have considered voting Conservative pledged their vote for me because of being a local person and knowing me,” said Coun Coulson. “Even the Labour candidate, Simon Parkes, said ‘You’re the right person for the job’.”
The new councillor said he is looking forward to getting stuck into a new form of local government and hopes to get straight to work addressing issues such as installing a footpath between Sleights and Ruswarp, or the lack of affordable housing in Sleights, where there is currently none.
He hopes to implement measures to reduce speeding through villages and also would like to see an increased high-speed internet access for residents and businesses along the Esk Valley.
A pipeline from the proposed potash mine will run through the middle of Coun Coulson’s ward, and he is fully in support of the project. “It can only be good for the area,” he said. “We will have disruptions at first but it will be worth it.”
Local Member of Parliament Robert Goodwill joined in to help Coun Coulson as he travelled around the area, but almost got the pair into trouble when the MP’s car got a flat tyre and then ran perilously low on petrol. “It was quite funny,” said Mr Coulson. “It all added to the excitement.”
Mr Goodwill said he was delighted for the new councillor, adding the result proved Coun Coulson was well-respected in his local area.
Although the result was in very little doubt as the area remains firmly Conservative, the MP said he was surprised at how poorly Labour actually performed.
He said: “The big surprise for me is how poorly Labour polled. Why can’t Labour find a credible candidate given that they’re supposedly on a high, given national opinion polls? It’s a sign of some poor organisation in the local Labour party.”
With the retention of this seat, the Conservative party kept its overall majority at SBC of 26 councillors.
Mr Goodwill added: “It rather nails some of the comments made by Free Whitby, who are wanting to break off from Scarborough, when people are voting and giving an SBC candidate such a ringing endorsement. It’s also a huge vote of confidence in the job Tom Fox is doing as leader of the council.”