William Harbottle

William has lived in the parish for nearly 25 years and first became involved with the Parish Council a few years ago following a local planning issue. He began to attend Parish Council meetings and liked how the Parish Council worked for the benefit of local people. William continued to maintain an interest and when a vacancy arose in May 2019, he was co-opted onto the Parish Council.

William has chaired the Parish Council Planning Sub-Committee since May 2020 and says “I think one of the main roles of the Parish Council is to help protect the parish, something that is particularly true when it comes to planning. The parish has a beautiful landscape and character and I think it is important that we do what we can to ensure that both are retained for future generations. Change is inevitable and development is a key part of that.”

“Carried out properly, development can complement the surrounding area, preserve its character and be a good thing. Done poorly, it can have the opposite effect. In my opinion, our job is to do what we can to make sure that development within the parish has the right effect by supporting quality proposals and highlighting those which are substandard.”

Richard Spokes

Richard moved to Brabourne Lees at the age of 10 in 1982 and has lived in the village, except for a couple of years in the early 90s, ever since. Having been to Brabourne C of E school and then The Norton Knatchbull (via two years at The North School), he went on to a career in law enforcement.

Richard says: Following marriage to a fellow villager, our two daughters also went to Brabourne School before Highworth and then on to universities.

I took up the role of Parish Councillor in 2001 as a result of the vacancy left following the death of my father (a parish councillor for the previous 15 years). In addition to this role, I also led the creation and development of  a volunteer-run junior football club (vSmeeth And Brabourne FC) in 2006 until 2018, a period that saw over 150 youngsters playing every week at its peak.

With no desire to leave our village for some time yet, if at all, I remain keen to ensure that Brabourne is able to move forwards with the times but retain the character that has made it the ideal place for my family and me for nearly 40 years.

Christine Young

I am Brabourne born and bred, with 4 generations of my family still living here today. Both my husband and I attended Smeeth School and our two children Brabourne School. We have contributed over the years through clubs including Brabourne School PFA, Scouts & Guides, Smeeth & Brabourne Football Club and we continue to volunteer as and when we can around work commitments.

I have been a Brabourne Parish Councillor for about 15 years now. I was initially approached by one of the Councillors at the school gate. Although I have a strong connection with the village and preserving it, I am not the most outspoken person so was not sure I would be right for this role.

What I have learnt from my time as a Councillor is that we all bring something different to the table and it is this variety that makes our Council work well together.

We live in a lovely village; I am grateful for our beautiful surroundings and people. My ambition as a Councillor is to be open minded to change, whilst protecting our beautiful village as much as we can.

Mike Hickmott

Michael Hickmott

Mike was born in West Brabourne, went to Brabourne School and the Norton Knatchbull School. He then went on to the University of East London and graduated as a Chartered Surveyor. Mike joined the Valuation Office of the Inland Revenue where he stayed for 11 years before moving into the private sector of valuation surveying where he stayed until his retirement in 2019. He has lived in the parish for over 50 years.

He first became involved with Brabourne Parish Council in the late 1980’s when there was a proposal to route the High Speed Rail Link from the Channel Tunnel to London between the village centre and the Village Hall. He was one of the founders of a protest group because the Parish Council at that time was sitting on the fence doing nothing. In 1988 there was a local election. Mike became chairman in July 2013.

As Mike was born and bred in Brabourne he says: “My love for the parish is inbred, it’s in the water and in my blood. My maternal ancestors moved to Brabourne in the mid 1800s and my paternal ancestors in the 1920s. Consequently I am passionate about the village, the landscape, the historic buildings and the quality of life the parish brings. My heart and soul are in the parish.”

“My vision for Brabourne is a small but steady growth of houses and small businesses in conjunction with our neighbouring parish of Smeeth. However, this should be in confined developments of up to 10 to 15 dwellings, re-use of redundant buildings and not be by mass building of large estates. We also need more Local Needs Housing for local people and their families but the biggest problem is finding a suitable site close to the village centre.”