Bell tolls for council pair

Councillors Gary Bell (left) and Ron Bell
Councillors Gary Bell (left) and Ron Bell
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TWO brothers elected to Blackpool Council at the last local elections have announced they are to stand down in May.

Councillors Ron and Gary Bell, who have represented Talbot ward since 2007, say while they have enjoyed representing their constituents they will not miss the ‘Punch and Judy’ party politics of the council chamber.

However, Coun Ron Bell, who contested the Blackpool South seat at last year’s General Election, said he had not ruled out fighting a Parliamentary seat again in the future.

He said; “Both Gary and I are looking to go back to concentrating on our business interests, but I’m still interested in politics.

“I don’t enjoy the local party politics but the ward work has been tremendously enjoyable and fulfilling.

“I’ve had the opportunity to meet a lot of very nice and enthusiastic people and we have achieved a lot including getting 90 per cent of the ward alley-gated.”

Coun Gary Bell said he wanted to concentrate on developing his business as a freelance health and safety trainer.

He said: “I’ve found being on the council immensely rewarding and at times immensely frustrating.

“The engagement with constituents when you can help them is great, but some of the other aspects such as the Punch and Judy politics of full council is frustrating.”

During their time representing Talbot ward, the brothers have also had a CCTV camera installed outside the Belle View Pub on Whitegate Drive, helped the campaign to relocate Addaction out of Whitegate Drive and given more than £3,000 to schemes at Stanley Park from their ward budget.

Coun Ron Bell was embroiled in controversy when it emerged in 2009 that donations totalling £10,000 were made to the Blackpool South Conservative Association by Kensington Developments, which had applied to build homes on Marton Moss.

The cash was channelled into an election war chest for Coun Bell and was subsequently paid back after an investigation by regional Tory bosses found it had been “inappropriate” although it had been properly recorded.

Former Blackpool Mayor Coun Robert Wynne, from the Liberal Democrat group, has already announced he will not be standing at the May local elections after 20 years on the council representing Squires Gate ward.

He also cited the fact he had become “disenchanted” with party politics.