It was the first local government meeting to take place at Bexhill Town Hall since the Covid-19 restrictions came into place in March 2020 and was livestreamed on YouTube.
The meeting was opened by Rother Councillor Christine Bayliss who chaired the Rother steering group that ultimately led to the creation of the town council.
The first matter of official business was to elect a council chairman.
Postman Paul Plim – newly-elected councillor for Central Ward who has been delivering letters and parcels to Bexhill residents for more than 20 years – was voted in with unanimous support. Retired headteacher and chair of Bexhill Events Claire Baldry, councillor for Sackville Ward, was voted in as vice chair.
Chairman Cllr Paul Plim said: “I am delighted to be chair of Bexhill’s historic first town council. I pledge to work with the other town councillors to make Bexhill a better place for all its residents and visitors.
“I have long-supported the creation of a town council and look forward to seeing what we can achieve in our first year of office. Immediate priorities for the council will include appointing a permanent town clerk, advising on local planning applications, and starting a consultative visioning exercise with residents about what they want the council to do.
“I’d like to take this opportunity to remember those who went before us in the campaign for a town council but are no longer with us. Margaret Jones, the Liberal councillor who long extolled the virtues of a town council. John Lee, who exactly 10 years ago took his place as a district independent councillor and used the Localism Act to start the ball rolling on the governance review. And the late Stuart Earl, a former councillor who encouraged many of the new councillors elected. And I’d also like to thank councillor Christine Bayliss, who steered the idea of a town council through the district council.”
He added: “The meeting was a great victory for all those who have campaigned over the years for Bexhill to have a voice. At last we can look Battle and Rye in the eye and say we have equal representation of the people. Now all councillors can work together and put Bexhill first in their thoughts as we build a lasting structure of local government.”
Cllr Plim has also become Bexhill’s new mayor. The council retained this historic role by switching from parish to town council status.