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EDDC elections 4th May: candidate profile:  Denise BICKLEY

  • by JW

Sidmouth Town Ward


The District Council elections are happening in two weeks’ time: EDDC elections 4th May: all Sidmouth seats contested – Vision Group for Sidmouth

The VGS has contacted all the candidates standing in the elections – and has asked if they would like to provide a profile for publication.

These short manifestos are being published as they are received.


Sidmouth Town ward

Asking to be re-elected 

Firstly, can I ask you simply to vote. Voter apathy is at an all time high and I can understand why – we are being let down by national government to the point where nobody trusts a politician. That’s why one of my biggest compliments in the last couple of years has been “you don’t seem like a politician.” I took this to mean I am ethical, honest, hard-working, community-minded and generally nice. Luckily at EDDC I have been fortunate to be surrounded by like-minded people who came together to form the Democratic Alliance. I would love the chance to carry in with this group as we are making firm inroads into changing the ethos at EDDC. Despite woeful cuts to local government budgets, and the last 3 years being extraordinarily challenging for everybody due to covid, we have managed to balance the budget as well as creatively manage so many projects. 

It’s easy to print a leaflet saying ‘boo to EDDC’s cuts to toilets and to the price increases in the car parks’. Ask yourself this – if we hadn’t raised prices (which has raised an extra £1m+), but whilst simultaneously marketing very affordable resident parking permits, how would we have managed the budget? Which services would we have cut? If we didn’t try to streamline our incredibly mismanaged toilets by offering up some to private businesses or community groups, how would we have funded the upgrades? This idea was raised by the former administrations back in 2015 but they didn’t have the nerve to see it through, although it was vital, and let the toilets run down to a despicable standard. Also, just look at Conservative-run Devon County Council and see what happens when you aren’ prudent and thoughtful with budgeting.

I often liken our situation at EDDC to trying to turn around a huge container ship. You have to apply the changes to the steering and keep going, until it turns. I feel we have definitely turned it and now we need a chance to steer it further in the right direction.

If I am fortunate enough to gain enough votes to continue as councillor I will always put our environment first. We are in a climate and ecological emergency, and we need to start behaving like it. I am staunchly pro improving biodiversity, and against ecocide (wilful pollution or destruction of environment, including but not limited to felling healthy trees, allowing agricultural run-off and sewage into rivers and the sea, and animal abuse in any form). I work with local biodiversity groups and my own group Sidmouth Plastic Warriors to improve our area and am never afraid to speak out about important issues.

I also have the energy for another fight regarding the Knowle, and the planning permission being sought there for even more retirement homes – despite the fact that the people needed to work there cannot afford to live in the area. I am very much for the increase in second home council tax, and planning restrictions regarding change of use of properties to become holiday lets, as this detrimental to our town and to our young people in particular, those residents who we need to work in our town and run our services. They need a chance to live in decent, realistically affordable housing. Yes of course we need tourism but we also need thriving, happy residents.

More information about my ideas, my videos and ways to contact me to ask any questions can be found at Denise Bickley – Independent – EDDC Elections 2023 – Sidmouth Town Ward

I have made a deliberate decision NOT to print and distribute leaflets this election as I do not want to waste paper and contribute to junk mail. I hope everyone understands that this is not a ‘lazy choice’ but is a positive. Everything about me can be found in my website. Thanks for your understanding.