Liberal Democrats retain seat in district council by-election

Sarah Wilson was victorious in the by-election. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Sarah Wilson was victorious in the by-election. Picture: CONTRIBUTED - Credit: Archant

Liberal Democrats are celebrating after they retained the Godmanchester and Hemingford Abbots seat on Huntingdonshire District Council in yesterday’s (August 1) by-election.

Candidate Sarah Wilson, who scored 929 votes, comfortably saw off a challenge from Conservative Paula Sparling, polling 666. Independent candidate Nigel Pauley finished with 333 votes in an election which had a turnout of just under 28 per cent, down on the vote last year when 34.3 per cent of the electorate went to the polling station.

The by-election came after the Liberal Democrat David Underwood stood down on health grounds.

The result means that the political make-up of the 52 seat authority remains the same, dominated by the Conservatives who have 30 members, an independent group is the second largest on 10 and the Liberal Democrats have seven. Labour has four councillors and there is also a separate independent member.

Cllr Wilson, who already serves on Godmanchester Town Council, said: "I am absolutely delighted to have been elected. The work has already started with people getting in touch with me this morning."

She said she hoped to be able to get involved with planning because development, ranging from a small extension to a big housing or industrial area, always had an impact on the community.

Cllr Wilson, whose husband Graham is a Liberal Democrat county councillor, said Godmanchester was facing a number of issues, including the proposed new crossing on the River Great Ouse, which would come through the nature reserves at the end of Cow Lane and along Cow Lane until it joined the A14, potentially putting more vehicles on to the A1198 which was already under pressure caused by development.

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She said the removal of pigeons roosting under the A14 flyover near Cambridge was of concern to many residents who were worried about the droppings which built up on the pavement, posing a risk to pedestrians and cyclists, and the birds themselves could also be a hazard for drivers.

Cllr Wilson said removing the birds and the mess they left behind would cost an estimated £75,000.

She said the Liberal Democrat team had worked hard to retain the seat and praised the other candidates for their role in what had been a clean contest.