Independent South Hams councillor Mark Long represents Salcombe and since moving to the area he has immersed himself in local life.

Mark used to be a councillor in the London Borough of Havering following in his father’s footsteps.

He worked in communications and public relations latterly for a US chemical company which involved traveling all over Europe and to the States, as he explained: “I spent a lot of time and energy travelling and when I moved down here to Salcombe I was still doing the job for the first four years, working from home but still doing a lot of travelling.”

Mark also started a deli in the town. He said: “When you are running a business, it is seasonal, it is a tourist area and that means you’re working seven days a week, for long hours, during the season and don’t get much of a chance to enjoy the town.

“It did though give me the chance to get to know lots of people and learn how the town ticked.’’

Mark continued: “I started to get involved with things like the town regatta and this led me to the town council where I was co-opted.”

Mark served there for around eight years and took on the planning lead.

He then stepped away for a while he explained: “I was still involved with things like the town regatta, The Cliff House Trust and was the Salcombe Tree Warden then taking on the chairmanship of the South Hams Tree warden network.

Mark then considered his next move, saying: “I began to consider what South Hams District Council was not doing and how local people were not being represented.

“When the elections came up in 2019 I decided to run as an independent.

“At the first tilt it doesn’t always happen but I got elected.

“Although I wasn’t still involved with the town council I was connected with a number of organisations.

What are the main differences between the Town and District Councils?

“I think it’s the level of influence you have.

“Town and parish councils are statuary consultees but SHDC makes the final decision in areas such as planning applications, street cleaning, rubbish and to a certain extent housing.

“Affordable housing is a huge issue and one which is receiving more attention.

“The town and parish councils are all about grass roots issues that affect people and making people’s voices heard.’’

When it comes to standing for Devon County Council, Mark says never say never but it’s not utmost in his thoughts at the moment. He doesn’t want to spread himself to thinly.

Beyond his council life Mark enjoys looking after his dog which gives him a minimum four-mile walk, rain or shine and more at weekends, he’s still on the regatta committee and helps organise the Harbour Swim, supporting the tree warden network, wildlife and the environment, birdwatching and has been Chairman of the Salcombe Harbour Board since May this year.

He tries to have a social live as well, seeing friends.

Mark says representing Salcombe is a huge honour: “People give you their vote and you then owe them something.

“I don’t mind people calling me at weekends if they need to.

“I enjoy what I do or I wouldn’t do it.’’