Littlehampton councillor set to bow out at May elections

FORMER Littlehampton mayor Mark Butler is stepping down from politics, bringing to an end his 12 years as a town and Arun councillor.

Mr Butler, twice mayor of the town, is perhaps the highest-profile absentee from the candidates contesting the Arun, town and parish council elections next month.

He told the Gazette he wanted to concentrate on his monumental masonry business, Marks of Respect. “I have represented a wonderful ward, in a wonderful town, but now it’s time for somebody else to carry the torch.”

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First elected to the councils in 1999, Labour member Mr Butler became a widely respected councillor, successfully defending his River ward seat in 2003 and 2007.

All 11 Arun wards in the Gazette area will be contested, with a total of 63 candidates fighting for 25 seats.

Democracy returns to Arundel, where there was no election four years ago and Conservatives Don Ayling and Paul Dendle were returned, unopposed.

Both are standing again, but this time face challenges from Labour’s Julie Buckle, Independent Peter Moss and the Liberal Democrats’ Carol Vanner and John Wedderburn.

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Rivalry will be at its strongest in Littlehampton’s Ham ward, where nine candidates will be bidding for the two seats being defended by Labour’s Mike Northeast and Tony Squires.

Joining them on the campaign trail are Conservatives Marian Ayres and Delma Mayer-Pezhanzki, Liberal Democrats Dave Leggatt and Daniel Purchese, Liberals Bill and Jenny Weights and Shirley Western, for UKIP.

On Littlehampton Town Council, the Official Monster Raving Loony Party is fielding its first candidate, the Rev Dr Field-Marshal Comrade Joby, in Beach ward.

History is also being made in Angmering, where the parish council will have its first election in living memory, 15 candidates battling for the 13 vacancies.

Voting for the town, Arun and parish elections, and the referendum on the alternative voting (AV) system, takes place on Thursday, May 5, from 7am-10pm.