Working for the Community 

Nine  councillors make up the Colton Parish Council, supported by the Parish Clerk.  The Parish is divided into 3 wards, with 3 councillors for each:

East Ward  This covers Finsthwaite and Lakeside.

Central Ward  This covers Bouth and Rusland

West Ward  This covers Colton, Oxen Park, Nibthwaite, and Spark Bridge (Colton side of the Crake).

All councillors sign a Code of Conduct to which they must adhere. See the  Governance, Finance and Administration pages for further information, including the List of Representatives on Working Groups and Outside Bodies.

The Council is supported by Cumbria County Councillor and South Lakeland District Councillor David Fletcher. The Council also receives valuable advice and support from our Lake District National Park Rangers for the South Distinctive Area, Sara Spicer and Andrew Wilkinson.

Members of Colton Parish Council, June 2014, outside Colton Church Hall.

From left to right: Cllr John Milburn, Cllr Katherine Patterson, Cllr Chris Potts, Cllr Anne Robinson (retired), Cllr John Watson,
Cllr Vanessa Champion (Vice-chair), Cllr David Hoyle, Cllr Colin Barr (Chairman), Cllr Ken Dean,  Mandy Lane (ex-Clerk)



Colin Barr (Chair)
Lilac Cottage, Oxen Park, LA12 8HG. 
Tel:   01229 861408
Register of Interests (Code of Conduct 2012)

Colin was born in 1950, the son of a small-time Suffolk farmer.  He has lived in South Lakeland since 1971  and in Colton parish since 1989.  He is married to Mandy Lane. He is a self-employed ecological consultant having taken early retirement after 30 years working at the Merlewood Research Station in Grange-over-Sands.  His specialism is ecological survey and he has a special interest in the wildlife value of farmland habitats, especially hedgerows. He is interested in all aspects of the countryside but   particularly enjoys photography and walking, at home and abroad, and has travelled extensively to fulfil these passions. 

Colin has a keen interest in local affairs.  He is a local contributor to (and former editor of) the Rusland & Satterthwaite Newsletter; a Committee Member of the Rusland Valley Horticultural Society; the Treasurer of the Oxen Park Cinema Club; a volunteer minibus driver with the South Lakeland Community Transport scheme and is active in local history studies.

Colin believes that rural Parish Councils have an important role to play in ensuring that local people have a voice in deciding the way the countryside is managed and develops.  He is particularly interested in retaining what is best of traditional pastimes and ways of life, while managing the introduction of inevitable change as sympathetically as possible.  He also believes that councillors need to be fully accountable to the parishioners they serve and that there is a need for better communication within the parish.  To this end, he was one of the initiators of this website. He joined the Parish Council in 2004.

(Contact the Clerk if interested in becoming a Councillor)

John Milburn
Stock Farm, High Nibthwaite, LA12 8DD. Tel: 01229 885626
Register of Interests (Code of Conduct 2012)

John Milburn farms at Stock Farm, High Nibthwaite and has lived in the area all his life. He went to school at Satterthwaite and then at John Ruskin, Coniston. After leaving school he was a farm worker at Lowick for 5 years and then became a groundsman for Cumbria Education, looking after schools in the south lakes area for 11 years. He took over the tenancy of Stock Farm in 1988 when his father retired. He is a member of the Bethecar Moor Commoners Association, running a hefted flock of Swaledale ewes, along with a  beef suckler herd. He has been a member of the Lowick & District Agricultural Society for the past 20 years.



David Hoyle
New House, Thwaite Moss, Rusland, LA12 8JZ.  Tel: 01229 860390
Register of Interests
(Code of Conduct 2012)

David has been involved with the Rusland Valley for over twenty years and now lives at Thwaite Moss, having grown to love the area. He has a small holiday cottages business on Cartmel Fell and a retail business with his wife, Judi, in Marple, Cheshire. He has been chairman of Marple`s regeneration partnership, its local business forum, a local football supporters trust and is currently on the committee organising a local Arts Festival. He is experienced at working with local authorities and related organisations, has a background in financial management, tourism and retail, and interests in music, sport and the countryside. He joined the Parish Council in 2010.

Vanessa Champion (Vice-Chair)
Low Side, Finsthwaite, LA12 8BP  Tel: 015395 31132
Register of Interests
(Code of Conduct 2012)

Vanessa lives in Finsthwaite where her family have lived for over 25 years. She has a background in education, having been an LEA inspector, a lecturer in educational management at St Martin's College, and a governor at Leven Valley School. She chaired the Finsthwaite and Lakeside Village Hall Committee for some years, helping to secure the future of the building for the community, and she now runs a keep-fit class there for the over '50s! Since retirement, Vanessa has become an Ancient Tree Verifier for the Woodland Trust, leads a group of woodland archaeologists surveying woods for the National Park, and enjoys volunteer work for the Lakeland Arts Trust and the Lake District Horticultural Society. She joined the Parish Council in 2010.



Walter Oates
The Woodlands, Lakeside LA12 8AS  Tel: 015395 30397

Walter is a Chartered Quantity Surveyor, now retired. He was born and raised in Barnsley, Yorkshire, and worked for several Civil Engineering Contractors on motorway construction, including the M6 at Shap, and other heavy civil engineering projects around the UK. He then worked overseas in Hong Kong and Malaysia, including employment as a Contracts Manager on the new Hong Kong Airport.


Walter moved to Lakeside in 1998 as an 'initial attempt at retirement', to be near to his family who live in Barrow and South Walney, as well in a 'desire to return to and live in a beautiful part of the world'. However, he was called to take on various short-term contracts in the far and middle east, and also India, and so real retirement was delayed until 2012. During a break from work in 2008, he underwent sail training and participated in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, crewing on the section from Fremantle, Australia to Qingdao, Northern China via Singapore.


Both he and his wife are active members of the local community and volunteer with 'Fix the Fells', an organisation sponsored by National Trust, Lake District National Parks and Friends of the Lake District and consisting of local people who give up their time to build, repair and maintain the high fell footpaths around the Lakes. He joined the Parish Council in July 2016.



Ken Dean
Pinebrook, Bouth, LA12 8JB.  Tel: 01229 861435
Register of Interests
(Code of Conduct 2012)

Ken was born in Accrington and has lived in Bouth for 33 years. He is married to Sue who has lived in Bouth for most of her life. Her mother was born in Finsthwaite and her father in Bouth. He has two daughters who were educated at Leven Valley School, Cartmel Priory and Barrow Sixth Form College. He is a Chartered Accountant and prior to retiring at the end of 2006 was a Finance Director for Kimberly Clark. Ken's interests include playing golf, gardening and local communities and in the past has been a governor of Cartmel Priory School and ran the local Leven Valley football team. He joined the Parish Council in 2008.

John Watson
New Close Farm, Oxen Park, LA12 8HQ.  Tel: 01229 861450
Register of Interests
(Code of Conduct 2012)

John was born at New Close, and went to school at Colton and then Cartmel.  He left school at 15 and worked with his father on the farm for 10 years.  In 1973 he set up in partnership with his brother, keeping 200 plus pedigree Ayrshires.  He is a member of the Ayrshire Cattle Society and a member, and at one time chairman, of the North West Ayrshire Breeders Club.  He is the present chairman of the Rusland Show Committee and has served on that committee for about 40 years.  He has been a member of the Parish Council since 2002.


Karen Birch,  Clerk
3,Home Farm Cottages, Grizedale, Ambleside. LA22 0QN Tel: 01229 860115

Karen moved to live at Grizedale after 13 years of living on the North Devon coast. She has previously lived in various parts of the Lake District moving around with her work. She grew up in Staffordshire and went to Wolverhampton University where she obtained a first-class honours degree in Hospitality and Licensed Retail management. Karen also works for the National Trust in the South Lakes area. She is a school Governor for Hawkshead Esthwaite Primary and helps on their PTA fundraising and providing activities for pupils. Karen has twin girls who are attend Hawskhead School. When time allows Karen enjoys cycling, walking and kayaking.



County and District Councillors

David Fletcher (SLDC and CCC)
Tel: 01229 860234. Email (SLDC):  or (CCC)


David Fletcher is the Liberal Democrat member of South Lakeland District Council, Hawkshead Ward, and the Liberal Democrat member of Cumbria County Council, High Furness Ward.