FOUR new townsfolk have taken up key roles in Sedgemoor District Council (SDC) after the Conservatives managed to cling onto power.

While Somerset West and Taunton, South Somerset, Bath and North East Somerset and Mendip councils all went to the Liberal Democrats, the Conservatives at Sedgemoor fought off opposition to keep a majority of eight seats.

28 Conservatives, 12 Labour, seven Liberal Democrat and one Independent councillors now sit on SDC and four councillors from the Burnham-on-Sea area have been given key roles in the new council.

The Weekly News spoke to the four new councillors about how they feel about their new appointments and their plans for the next four years.

Conservative Cllr Peter Clayton has been elected as the new chairman of Sedgemoor District Council (SDC).

Representing Burnham North, he was first elected to SDC in the early 1990's and is a Burnham and Highbridge town councillor.

He said: "I am absolutely delighted to have been elected as chairman of Sedgemoor District Council.

"I feel very honoured and privileged to take up the position and I will work to the best of my ability to be a good ambassador for the district.

"I think it is excellent to have a local person back in to the chair at SDC again and I hope I can have an impact both here in Burnham and Highbridge as well as the rest of Sedgemoor.

"I would like to thank all my colleagues for having confidence in me and I am looking forward to working with all of them in the next two years.

"Having previously worked in service and retail on Burnham’s High Street for 28 years, I find it really sad to see the decline in many shops. I have been encouraged to hear of several initiatives from Government to try and rectify this.

"This is something I will work on for the benefit of Burnham and Highbridge as well as other towns across Sedgemoor. I am looking forward to getting about and listening to the views of our residents and business people."

Representing Knoll ward, Cllr Bob Filmer has retained his role as chairman of SDC's development committee and said he aims to work with communities to ensure the district the best developments possible.

He said: "It’s going to be a very busy time for development over the next couple of years as developers submit planning applications in line with the newly adopted Sedgemoor Local Plan.

"It is my aim to work with local communities and their parish and town councils to try to ensure that we get the best possible developments in the right places and press developers to provide as many 'affordable' houses as possible for our local residents.

"We will also be pushing developers as far as we can to work closely with the district and county councils to provide the new infrastructure that we need for the whole community, including roads, schools, health and recreation facilities, etc.

" So that new developments benefit the whole community and not just the developers."

And Cllr Polly Costello, who represents Mark and Wedmore ward, is the new chairman of the licensing and general purposes committee.

She said: "I had sat on the Licensing and GP committee for the past four years and was the vice chair for the past two years and wouldn’t have put myself forward for this position had the previous chairman Jeff Savage been re-elected, sadly he wasn’t, so the natural thing for me to do was to go for this job.

"Licensing is a complex subject as well as really interesting, covering licensing of premises, the sale of alcohol and extended hours of venues as well as the many aspects of the licensing for the taxi trade and even doggy day care.

"I have sat on many panels over the last four years, some of which have had serious implications for the applicants, it is our job as a committee to keep the public safe and if this means taking a driver’s license away, then so be it.

"I will be chairing all the committee meetings and panels and hope to be able to continue the high standards of my predecessor."

Cllr Janet Keen said: "I have been elected to the Executive of Sedgemoor District Council, my portfolio being Communities and Wellbeing. The title disguises a wide range of responsibilities, ranging from Climate Change through Equalities to Supporting Wellbeing through Housing and does include Grant applications.

"On June 5 the Executive approved the Management Plans for the Quantock Hills and the Mendip Hills both are Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and both receive contributions from Sedgemoor towards the management programme and monitoring the health of these national parks is fundamental to their management

"It is very early days yet, but I am getting to know the key officers in the different departments and learning from them the practicalities of getting things done! The whole point of standing for elected office is to try to make a difference to peoples' lives.

"It has been only two weeks since my appointment to the Executive and it is a steep learning curve - but stimulating and enjoyable. My next learning points will be in the areas of community safety and health and wellbeing. I hope that in about four months I will be able to write a page of 'hopes' and 'attainments' because both Sedgemoor and its partner local authorities in Somerset are deeply committed to delivering the service to our residents."