More independents for St Ives and election round-up

THREE more independent candidates for St Ives Town Council s elections on May 1 have declared themselves, bringing the total to 10. Nomination papers will be accepted by the Returning Officer from tomorrow (Thursday) until noon on Friday, April 4. The

THREE more independent candidates for St Ives Town Council's elections on May 1 have declared themselves, bringing the total to 10.

Nomination papers will be accepted by the Returning Officer from tomorrow (Thursday) until noon on Friday, April 4.

The emergence of independent candidates follows increasing criticism of the controlling Conservative group, particularly over its handling of the future of the town's listed 19th century Corn Exchange.

Many of the 10 would-be independent councillors have been associated with Action Corn Exchange, set up to save the building as a community asset against the council's (now rescinded) decision to dispose of it.

But it is the Huntingdon-Cambridge guided bus, due to open next spring, that has galvanised the three latest candidates, Sarah Mead, Rosemary Paget-Crowe and Angie Walters.

The three believe the guided bus will have a significant impact on the town. Rosemary Paget-Crowe said: "Good transport links are essential for any thriving economy. I look forward to the guided bus and hope it enables everybody at all levels of mobility to make sound environmental choices about travel.

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"Local townspeople have a vested interest in the success of this project and should be able to have their concerns represented and acted upon by an interested and involved town council."

Sarah Mead added that the town council should focus on ensuring that St Ives traders and the town generally benefited from the guided bus.

"Allowing passengers direct access to the town centre will encourage new shops and businesses into the town and help maintain the quality and choice of shops already here," she said.

Angie Walters added: "It is essential that buses continue into St Ives town centre and beyond to bring visitors and shoppers into the town, rather than stop at the park-and-ride site. It is also important that bus services are maintained along the A14 to continue to serve Fenstanton and Bar Hill."

Most Huntingdonshire District Councillors will be seeking re-election. Among them are council leader, Cllr Ian Bates (Con, The Hemingfords) and the current chairman, Cllr Phillip Swales (Con, Ramsey). Other Conservatives set to stand are Cllrs Jason Ablewhite (St Ives East), Andrew Hansard (St Neots Eynesbury), John Davies (St Ives South), Bob Farrer (Eaton Ford), John Watt (Yaxley and Farcet) and Steve Criswell (Somersham). Sawtry Independent Dick Tuplin also plans to stand again.

Not seeking re-election is Jim Fell (Huntingdon East).

Others who have not yet indicated their intention include Ken Churchill (Con, Little Paxton), Peter Downes (Lib Dem, Brampton), Jeff Dutton (Con, Huntingdon North), Derek Giles (Lib Dem, Eaton Socon), Kevin Reynolds (Con, St Ives West) and Peter Ward (Lib Dem, Warboys and Bury), who is thought to have moved away.

There will also be elections in Godmanchester, after the sudden death last month of Cllr Carol Godley, and Buckden, where Cllr Richard Bailey is resigning. The count for both elections will take place at the Burgess Hall, St Ives, on Friday May 2.

Caption: INDEPENDENTS: Sarah Mead, Rosemary Paget-Crowe and Angie Walters.

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