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Independent Bransgore farmer Richard Frampton wins New Forest District Council byelection

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BRANSGORE farmer Richard Frampton had extra reason to celebrate this Christmas, winning the Bransgore and Burley seat on New Forest District Council in a festive byelection.

The Independent scooped 617 votes to pip Green Party candidate Lucy Bramley, who managed 459. In third was Conservative Sarah Howard with 258, while the Labour’s James Swyer got 59 votes.

The turnout yesterday (Thursday) was 31.05%, with no spoilt papers, and the result was the first declared by returning officer Kate Ryan in her role as NFDC chief executive.

Richard Frampton won 617 votes
Richard Frampton won 617 votes

The result is not a huge surprise since Mr Frampton is the fourth generation of his family to live in Bransgore and a well-known and popular character who produces his own ‘Dickey’s Dribble’ cider.

Cllr Frampton has been a district councillor twice before, firstly winning the Bransgore and Sopley ward seat in 1999 when he was a Liberal Democrat. He returned to the authority in 2015 as a Conservative, taking the vote after the ward switched to become Bransgore and Burley.

He made headlines in 2018 when he quit the Conservative Party in protest over cuts to public services which he said were leaving residents at the mercy of criminals. He became an Independent, and opted not to stand for the seat at the 2019 election.

In the 2019 local elections the Tories romped home, taking both of the ward's seats with Mr Steele gaining 964 votes and Cllr Martyn Levitt 1,002. The only opponent then was Labour's Aimee Gwyther who got 385 votes.

Cllr Frampton has also been on New Forest National Park authority – and told the A&T he was proud, in that role, of helping enable the first two social rented houses in Bransgore.

The turnout in the ward was 31.05%
The turnout in the ward was 31.05%

He has said he was standing as an independent as "local matters should not be biased by politics and a yearning to get back in control at all cost" and had assured voters: "So you will not get me promising false hope or a panacea for all ills on a glossy brochure which can never be delivered.

"You will get an honest answer and my best endeavours to do what I can for you."

As reported in the A&T, the seat was up for grabs following the resignation of previous incumbent, Mark Steele.

He had been a member of the ruling Conservative cabinet on NFDC and held the leisure and wellbeing portfolio, but opted to leave in protest at the manner in which former NFDC leader, Cllr Barry Rickman, removed as NFDC’s representative on the national park authority.

That came after Cllr Rickman admitted flouting environmental laws in relation to his family’s Rickman scrapyard at Sway, which he co-owns with his brother, Robert Rickman.

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