‘I love Beccles’ - Two new councillors unveiled after resignations

Paul Jackson from Oakfired at the Royal Oak, Beccles. Picture: Nick Butcher

Paul Jackson from Oakfired at the Royal Oak, Beccles. Picture: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

Two new councillors have been appointed to a town council after two resignations last year.

Beccles Town Councillor Peggy McGregor. PHOTO: Zoom

Beccles Town Councillor Peggy McGregor. PHOTO: Zoom - Credit: Archant

Paul Jackson and Peggy McGregor will represent the central ward on Beccles Town Council after being co-opted at a meeting held on Zoom on Tuesday night, August 18.

The vacancies arose following the resignations of councillors Tony Rainbird and Josi Horne, with the co-option process delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Two vacancies remain on the council following the resignations of Darby ward representative Norman Brooks and Rigbourne ward representative Caroline Topping.

Mr Jackson, a former Norfolk County Council consultation manager who now runs Oak Fired, on Ravensmere, said: “I love Beccles. I have been here for 10 years now and over the course of that time I have always been involved in Beccles in some way, whether volunteering for the Lido or charity fundraisers.

“My latest career incarnation is business and I think Beccles, like anywhere, is in a really challenging place right now.

“For the first time I have noticed shop occupancy rates are becoming an issue, especially with the unfortunate closure of Beales.

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“I would like to get involved in the environment and what we can do in the community and as a council to help nurture businesses.”

Eleven prospective candidates were interviewed by councillors during the meeting, with both elected by a majority vote.

Ms McGregor said: “I applied to become a town councillor because I like to do things where I can make a difference.

“It is important for me, wherever I am living, to be involved in what happens to the town and the people who live here. It would drive me mad not to do something.

“I moved back to Beccles seven years ago and I am a retired business management and marketing lecturer.

“At the moment I am a trustee of the Citizens Advice for East Suffolk and I am a community engagement volunteer for the Silver Line.”

Councils are allowed to fill vacancies by co-option when less than 10 electors request an election.

An election will be held later this year to fill Mr Brooks’ seat, while electors have until Thursday, August 27 to request an election to replace Mrs Topping.