A group of friends and neighbours have come together to form a political party in a bid to run their town council.
Hadleigh Together began as a conversation between a group of parents on the school run who “love Hadleigh”, members said.
It currently has 13 members standing for seats at the Hadleigh Town Council elections in May.
Members will appear as a group alongside Labour, Conservative, Green and Independent candidates in Suffolk.
Charity consultant Steve Allman, 40, said: “We are not politicians by any stretch, but we want to show we’re a collective group who love Hadleigh, live here; some of us work here and we’re all raising our kids here.
“We’re proud of Hadleigh’s past, we celebrate its present and we’re excited by its future, and we don’t think there’s a need for national political parties at a local level.”
Hadleigh Together has registered as a minor political party.
There are a total of 15 seats available on Hadleigh Town Council: five in Hadleigh North and 10 in Hadleigh South.
Hadleigh Together candidates for Hadleigh North are: Angela Gregg, Carol Schleip, Emily Wright, Emma Wilson Downes and Vic Faccini.
And for Hadleigh South: Carolyn Cammack, Gavin Talbot, James Bayliss, Lisa Gordon, Paul Twyman, Richard Hinton, Rolf Beggerow and Steve Allman.
A ‘perfect’ small town
- Hadleigh was established as a market town in 1252 and now has a population of about 9,000
- Poet Sir John Betjeman described it as “one of the most perfect small towns in England”
- The town prospered in the wool trade – more in the finishing of the material than in its actual production – and its coat of arms reflects this
- Hadleigh’s Deanery Tower was the scene of the first meeting of the Anglican clerics who went on to found the Oxford Movement
- The town has 250 listed buildings and of the 137 properties on the High Street, 90% are listed
- There was a 26-year battle over Tesco’s plans to move into the town which ended in 2013 when the superstore abandoned the idea
Source: Visit Hadleigh, The Tourist Trail and BBC
Mr Allman said he thought Hadleigh Together was the first party of its kind in Suffolk.
He said it based its model on Independents for Frome, which gained a majority on the Somerset town’s council in 2011 and has held all of the council’s seats since May 2015.
Town councils, along with parish councils, are the third tier of local government, below, in Hadleigh’s case, Suffolk County Council and Babergh District Council.
Their role includes managing public buildings such as town and village halls, and providing local views for planners at district council level.