Democracy rules in town by-election

PUBLISHED: 20:11 23 July 2008 | UPDATED: 15:50 11 May 2010

IT has been described as the by-election that no-one wanted. And as a by-election which was a waste of money. But in spite of the words that have been generated from a discussion during a Royston Town Council meeting, voters in the Meridian ward will be g

IT has been described as the by-election that no-one wanted.

And as a by-election which was a waste of money.

But in spite of the words that have been generated from a discussion during a Royston Town Council meeting, voters in the Meridian ward will be going to the polls on Thursday.

And the political parties are taking the campaign seriously and recognising the need for democracy to be seen to be working.

The by-election has been called after the death of Cllr Peter Lill, who suffered a massive heart attack during the last day of his term as Mayor of Royston in May.

Each of the three major parties has a candidate standing in a ward which has always been seen as a Conservative stronghold.

Both the Tories and the Liberal Democrats have said that they are getting a positive response from voters during the campaign.

The Tories' candidate is Graham Palmer, who has stood before in North Herts District Council elections.

He has been a resident of Royston for more than 20 years and is a school governor and a member of the Royston Community Association's management committee.

Mr Palmer sees as a priority the need for a railway underpass and a look at the current system of car parking charges.

Town councillor Robert Smith, who is running Mr Palmer's campaign, said: "We are getting a positive response on the doorsteps and people are raising local issues."

One such issue, he said, was the support given to the introduction of double-yellow lines in Newmarket Road.

Another is the need to complete work on a play area on the Twigden estate.

"Residents are beginning to realise that this could shortly be resolved," said Cllr Smith.

The Liberal Democrat candidate, Lisa Thompson, has been a resident in Royston for 35 years.

She was for four years chairman of the Icknield Walk School Parent-Teacher Association and is an active member of Royston Hockey Club where she is captain of the ladies' club.

She said that during her campaigning questions have been raised over facilities for youngsters.

She is concerned, too, about comments concerning the decline of the town centre.

Mrs Thompson commented, too, that it was right to call a by-election as the town council term was just over half-way through.

The Labour candidate is Vaughan West, who has been a governor at Studlands Rise School and is an active member of Royston Parish Church.

He said the by-election gives voters in the Meridian ward the opportunity to select the candidate of their choice rather than "the Conservative dominated council to co-opt a crony".

"This by-election marks an opportunity to start to break the stranglehold of the one party Tory state in Royston," he said.

n Polling will take place on Thursday, July 31 from 7am-10pm.

The election count will be taking place on Thursday night after the closing of the polls at Icknield Walk School.

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