A FORMER North Devon District and Barnstaple Town Councillor is vowing to return to the fray refreshed and ready for battle after a two-year break from local politics. Jim Bartlett, aged 84, is standing for election in a town council by-election taking

A FORMER North Devon District and Barnstaple Town Councillor is vowing to return to the fray "refreshed and ready for battle" after a two-year break from local politics.Jim Bartlett, aged 84, is standing for election in a town council by-election taking place on Thursday, November 20. He was first elected to the old Barnstaple Borough Council in 1960.Independent candidate Mr Bartlett is contesting the Whiddon Valley and Forches seat with Liberal Democrat Tony Clark, Conservative David Luggar and Communist Party of Great Britain candidate Gerard Anthony Sables. He is standing to protest at what he sees as "wasteful and unnecessary expenditure on the council.""In the present serious financial crisis, all families are having to budget carefully and it does not seem unreasonable to expect the politicians on our council to do the same," he said.Mr Bartlett said he was opposed to the individual grants given to councillors to spend in their local communities as they saw fit."The spending of local taxpayers' money should be decided by the council and not left to the whim of individual councillors."This sets a dangerous precedent in my opinion and is indicative of the financial irresponsibility which is pervading the council."Mr Bartlett, who represented the ward as a town councillor for 44 years, and as a district councillor for four years, said if elected, he would act as "champion" of the local taxpayer."When serving as a councillor before, I derived no personal benefit and if elected, I shall give my time completely free and I shall not under any circumstances take a penny from local taxpayers' funds," he said.www.northdevon.gov.uk