Maxine Hay to stand against council leader
ROAD safety campaigner Maxine Hay is so angry about the way she has been treated by Huntingdonshire District Council that she will stand against council leader Ian Bates in the election on May 1. Mrs Hay, whose son 16-year-old Warren died crossing the A14
ROAD safety campaigner Maxine Hay is so angry about the way she has been treated by Huntingdonshire District Council that she will stand against council leader Ian Bates in the election on May 1.
Mrs Hay, whose son 16-year-old Warren died crossing the A141 Huntingdon northern bypass on his way to a football match in May last year, has successfully campaigned - with backing from The Hunts Post - for a light-controlled crossing at the junction with Kings Ripton Road.
Warren, a Chelsea fan, was a pedestrian on his way to Jubilee Park playing fields when he was struck by a car. He died later in hospital.
His mother formed the Warren Hay Road Safety Action Group to press for improvements. Cambridgeshire County Council fast-tracked the scheme and, last December, agreed a £160,000 no-right-turn scheme but said it would put in the £360,000 lights if HDC and Huntingdon Town Council also contributed.
They did, the balance of funding was found from a pot held jointly by the country and district councils, and work should start later this year.
But Mrs Hay, who lives in Alconbury, was so incensed by the way she was treated by Cllr Bates that she decided to stand against him as an independent candidate in The Hemingfords Ward.
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"I'm fed up with Ian Bates's nonchalant attitude. That's not right for the leader of the council. He should set an example. He has treated us and me personally quite appallingly," she told The Hunts Post.
Cllr Bates had stopped talking to Mrs Hay after HDC received a letter from her solicitors late last year demanding compensation for her son's death, because no provision was made for pedestrians when the council approved the planning application for Jubilee Fields. He believed further contact could jeopardise the council's legal position.
"I feel very strongly that people should not be allowed to treat others with contempt and disdain," Mrs Hay said. "Physically, I can't smack the man, but I can be a pain to him for the next month.
"As to the council as a whole, I'm grateful for what it did eventually, but it has taken a great campaign to get there. I'm a doer, and, if people voted me in, I would do the right thing for the Hemingfords. I get things done."
She acknowledges that she has little chance of election in a safe Tory ward, but added: "It's just for what I feel is right for the district."
Cllr Bates said this week that he had never had any intention of causing distress or disrespect to Mrs Hay, adding that it would be inappropriate to comment on anyone standing against him.
But Conservative agent Sir Peter Brown said: "I understand how she feels, but I think she has been a bit harsh on Ian. We are all working together on finding a solution [to the A141]. We should end up with something that will make people happy."
In Godmanchester, where one seat became vacant on the sudden death of Councillor Carol Godley in late February, her widower, Peter, will be trying to retain it for the Conservatives. The seat is also contested by Labour's Ann Beevor, UKIP's Shirley Reeve and the Lib Dems' Graham Wilson.
In Buckden, Liberal Democrat Terry Clough is looking to win back the seat from which he resigned two years ago. He will be in a three-cornered contest with Conservative Alan Barber and Labour's Thelma Lomax.
Across the district, the Conservatives and Labour are both fielding a full slate of candidates, but the Liberal Democrats have chosen to sit out the contests in Sawtry and in Yaxley and Farcet.