Roger Mathew's Brief Biography


I live in Tavistock, Devon. I served for 16 years on Tavistock Town Council from 1987 to 2003. I stood down in May 2003. I was an Independent councillor on West Devon Borough Council, from 1991 until 2007, when the electorate chose someone else. I was Chairman of the Planning Committee from 1999 until 2007.

I was born and educated in Tavistock before taking a degree in biochemistry at Birmingham University. Thereafter, I worked in Plymouth as a salesman, Hertfordshire as a teacher, and Quebec Province, Canada as a dogsbody for a year, before joining the Royal Air Force, in which I spent most of my service in East Anglia as a supply officer. On spare summer weekends, I used to hillclimb the ex-Ashley Cleave Morris, which I bought in 1974.

On retirement from the RAF, I returned to Devon, ran a family business in Plymouth for a few years, before moving into computer software development. I still do some work in this field from my home in Tavistock.

Roger Mathew's links

Town Councillor

I was first elected to the Tavistock Town Council in 1987. In 1988, I became vice-chairman of the Properties Committee, and succeeded to the chair in 1990. I was re-elected in 1991. After the customary two years as committee chairman, I retired to the back benches for a year, became vice-chairman of the Finance & General Purposes Committee in 1993 and chairman in 1994. I was returned unopposed in 1995 to sit for a further 4 years. After my second year as Chairman of the F&GP Committee, I retired to the back benches the nonce.
I am the council's nominee as a governor of St Rumon's VC Infants' School and the management committee of the Tavistock & District Citizens' Advice Bureau (CAB). In November 1996, I became Vice-Chairman of the newly-formed Committee of Joint Governors of Tavistock Academic Council.

In May 1999, I was again re-elected and was asked to become the Mayor. At the time of updating this page, I am serving as Mayor of Tavistock until 25 May 2000. The office of Mayor is largely ceremonial; however, the Mayor also acts as chairman at council meetings, which is far from ceremonial. In May 2002, I was appointed Vice-Chairman of the F&GP Committee for the second time. I stood down at the elections in May 2003.

Borough Councillor

I was one of the three people elected to represent Tavistock (South) Ward on West Devon Borough Council in 1991. I was appointed to sit on the Policy & Resources Committee and the Housing Committee. I was re-elected in 1995 and continued to serve on the same committees.
I sat on several working groups and chaired the Information Technology Management Group (ITMG) and the Audit Working Group. Like most councillors, I also served on a variety of other working groups, including Community Safety, Local Housing Company and Local Agenda 21 Working Group.
I was also a regular member of the Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit Appeals Boards until these were "regionalised" by Mr Blair's government.
I represented the council on the Post Office & Telecom Advisory Committees until these were abolished, the West Devon Police Liaison Committee and Tavistock Age Concern.

On 1 October 1996, the Mayor of West Devon formally opened the council's web site, and the council became the 165th to join the ranks of councils using the World Wide Web as a medium for publishing information.

In May 1999, I was again re-elected and became Chairman of the Planning Committee in the new council.
I currently represent the Council on the board of trustees of West Devon Homes Limited, a local housing company, created by the council to deliver its social housing service.

In June 2002, I became Vice-Chairman of the West Devon Partnership Committee, a joint committee of Devon County Council and West Devon Borough Council, which deals, amongst other things, with highways matters in West Devon. I suspect that I was rather too much of a thorn in the side of the County Highways hierarchy from that position, as the County Council abolished the Partnership committees in 2003 and have established Highways and Traffic Orders Committees (HATOCs), with a heavy majority of County Councillors. Following my re-election to West Devon Borough Council in May 2003, I have been appointed by WDBC to represent it on the West Devon HATOC. Ahem!

On 1 May 2003, I was again re-elected to West Devon Borough Council and subsequently re-appointed to serve as chairman of the Planning & Licensing Committee and appointed also as vice-chairman of the Policy & Resources Committee. That kept me busy for the next four years until, in 2007, the electorate decided that it had had enough of me. Story linked here.

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Updated 24 Sep 2007