Councillor Simon Coles
‘’I have been privileged to serve as one of the two District Councillors for the Eastgate Ward since 2005 and have been the County Councillor for the Taunton East Division since 2013. I have been a school governor for many years and was chair of Governors for two years. I believe in ensuring equal opportunities for all. Amongst the many improvements I have supported in Taunton I have been consistent in my campaigning for improvements to Victoria Park. I was instrumental in the removal of “Legal Highs” from our town.
I am passionate about the regeneration of Firepool and the town centre, and associated job creation and necessary infrastructure, along with the creation of a new business park and infrastructure works at Junction 25 on the M5. This should allow maximum benefit from the proposed dualling of the A358 and creation of the long awaited Henlade By-Pass ’’
Councillor Richard Lees
“I was elected onto Taunton Deane Borough Council, representing the people in the Eastgate Ward in May, 1999. I have held the portfolios of Communications; Sports Parks and Leisure; and have shadowed Sports Parks and Leisure; currently shadowing the Resources portfolio. I was Deputy Mayor in 2004/5 and became Mayor in 2005/6.
Professionally, I am an Advocate, having been employed by Barnardos and Somerset College of Arts and Technology, as well as Total Advocacy. I am currently employed by Swan Advocacy and work in the Taunton Deane and around Somerset. I have been an Advocate for over 20 years, before that working for Somerset County Council as the Co-ordinator for the Home Tuition Service in the Education Department.
Being involved in Local Government has been, and still is, very rewarding for me. Being totally blind myself I have striven to support the vulnerable and elderly in our society. I work actively with the Victoria Park Action Group, and residents throughout the Eastgate Ward – and beyond if people in the Taunton Deane Borough ask me to. I am very proud of having been given the Taunton Deane Citizenship Award, and an Honorary Doctorate of Education for the work I have done in our community.
In my current post as an Advocate I assist people throughout Somerset to gain their rights, choices and entitlements, and this post as a professional advocate sits very well with my Council duties.
A councillor should always be approachable, supportive and listen to the wants and needs of the Ward he or she represents – being part of the community and working with and for the community is very important.”