County councillor wins by-election for town seat

Jenny Antill won the Sudbury Town Council By-election

Jenny Antill won the Sudbury Town Council By-election

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Jenny Antill hopes to help Sudbury fulfil its potential as Sudbury’s new town councillor after winning a close by-election.

Voting figures were low, in-part likely to have been caused by the decision not to hand out polling cards due to costs.

However, it was Conservative candidate Jenny Antill, who is preparing to leave her role as a county councillor, who was voted in by residents.

Mrs Antill secured victory after gaining 157 votes.

Labour Party candidate Katie Clark got 104 votes, independent Steve Hall secured 85, Liberal Democrat Robert Spivey gained 71 and Green Party candidate Julie Fowles-Smith got 26 votes. The turnout was just 12.57 per cent.

Mrs Antill used to work as an investment analyst in London. She is a former Babergh district councillor and is currently county councillor for the Cosford ward –but will not be standing again in the May elections.

Instead, she has decided to focus on causes closer to home, including the town council.

After being named Sudbury’s new councillor, Mrs Antill said: “I hope to bring a positive atmosphere to the debates around Sudbury.

“I want to try to encourage people to take a more holistic approach to the town.”

Mrs Antill said different schemes should not just be looked at in isolation but how they interact and affect other developments in the town.

This included the continuing growth of the town including the Chilton Woods development. She said car parking would be an important aspect of this.

Mrs Antill said parking was a vital asset for the town and she see saw tourism as another area where she felt Sudbury could improve.

“We have a fantastic built environment and the beautiful water meadows.

“We need to promote it more to get more visitors to the town. It’s a super place but it has not been particularly well promoted over the years.

“We need to have more people coming here supporting the shops to keep the town centre vibrant.

“It does worry me to see increasing numbers of empty shops. We have an opportunity to sell ourselves a little better.”

She would like to see day trippers using the railway to visit from London and even see cruise ships include visits to Sudbury and the neighbouring villages when they stop off in Harwich, rather than ‘go shopping’ in Colchester.

Another area for improvement is on ensuring there is adequate entertainment for the younger population.

For Mrs Antill this includes building a cinema in the town. She said that if cinema companies were interested then they must see it as a financially viable area, pointing to the successful small cinema in Stowmarket.

The 66-year-old lives with her husband in Newman’s Green between Sudbury and Acton and spends much of her time in the town where she has involved herself in a number of community roles.

This includes different positions at Gainsborough’s House and also as a trustee of Compassion, the Sudbury-based domestic violence charity.