31st March 2021 | News | Claire
  • The press release below has just been issued … 

    Jess Bailey, Independent EDDC councillor for West Hill and Aylesbeare, has been endorsed by Claire Wright for the Otter Valley Ward in the forthcoming Devon County Council elections.

    Claire has decided not seek re-election to the Otter Valley Ward, to pursue new career opportunities.

    Claire said: “My decision to stand aside may come as a surprise to people.  However, I have quietly been considering my position for some time and although it has been an honour and privilege to serve my community in this way, it is now time to step aside. 

    “It was in recent days and after much contemplation that I reached the decision that now is the right time to pursue other career opportunities.”

    Claire added: “I know with absolute certainty, that my ward, the residents, the wildlife, the trees and every other thing of value, will be in supremely safe hands if Jess is elected. I have known her for years. She has proven time and time again that she is hard working, that she cares and that she fights tooth and nail for her ward.”

    “There is no one else I would feel more confident in, or happier to succeed me on Devon County Council. I very much hope that my supporters will step forward to help Jess in the forthcoming election campaign – as I myself will be doing. It is a huge challenge for an Independent to be elected to the County Council without the backing of a party machine. With only five weeks to go until polling day, it will now be full steam ahead for Jess and for those helping with her campaign.”

    Jess was elected as an Independent to East Devon District Council in May 2019 and has served on Ottery St Mary Town Council and West Hill Parish Council for seven years. A qualified solicitor, she grew up on a farm in mid Devon where she developed a love of wildlife and nature. Jess always had a desire to improve things, writing to Mrs Thatcher aged fifteen about the pollution of the oceans and adorning her bedroom walls with posters protesting against the cruelty of battery farming.

    Relocating back to Devon from London with her husband and son she felt compelled to join Ottery St Mary Town Council in 2013 due to the wanton destruction of oak trees in West Hill which was happening as part of the planning process.

    “I am very honoured to be endorsed by Claire as her potential successor. It is by no means guaranteed that I will be elected though and in the coming weeks I will be working hard to understand the issues across the Otter Valley Ward. It will of course be a different kind of election due to Covid and whilst it may not be possible to speak to people on the doorstep in the ‘normal’ way I will be doing all that I can to communicate with residents.”


    I will explain more about my decision to stand down from Devon County Council, in a forthcoming blog post.

    Photo caption

    Jess outside East Devon District Council offices in the 2019 local elections.