Post office battle set to dominate elections

PUBLISHED: 20:23 23 April 2008 | UPDATED: 15:44 11 May 2010

THE BATTLE to save village post offices looks set to dominate the South Cambridgeshire District Council elections. Voters will be going to the polls on Thursday May 1 - and several candidates are pledging to do their upmost to prevent the closure of their

THE BATTLE to save village post offices looks set to dominate the South Cambridgeshire District Council elections.

Voters will be going to the polls on Thursday May 1 - and several candidates are pledging to do their upmost to prevent the closure of their local post office.

In Bassingbourn ward, which includes Litlington, Shingay-cum-Wendy, and Whaddon, Cllr Nigel Cathcart (Lab) is standing for re-election, and faces opposition from Adrian Dent (Con), Peter Robinson (Ind) and Simon Saggers (Green Party).

Cllr Cathcart, who has been serving on the district council for the last 18 years, said he was keen to "maintain rural services, especially the post offices." Meanwhile, Mr Dent said: "There are too few [post offices] as it is - we cannot afford to lose any more."

Cllr Val Trueman will be running as an independent in Melbourn after 16 years as a Liberal Democrat.

She said: "For me the council is no longer as democratic as it was. Too many councillors vote along party lines. As an independent I believe I can serve the needs of my villages more effectively."

Cllr Trueman highlighted the transfer of housing stock as an issue which concerns her.

She said: "The interests of tenants are better served with the council, a housing association will not provide the same level of service."

Also up for election in the Melbourn ward, which includes Great and Little Chishill, and Heydon, are Val Barrett (Con), Christine Cartwright (Lib Dem), and Hywel Jackson (Lab). Mrs Barrett has promised to clamp down on anti-social behaviour, while also campaigning against post office closures. She has already set up a petition against any possible closure of Melbourn post office.

Christine Cartwright believes that as a resident of the ward for more than 30 years she knows the issues which matter to local people.

The Mordens Conservative Association has urged its members to support incumbent Cicely Murfitt (Ind), instead of the party's candidate, Bob Poulter, as reported in The Crow earlier this year.

Cllr Murfitt said: "There is no place for party politics at this level of council, and if I am re-elected I will continue to be a con-scientious councillor and go the extra mile for my constituents."

Mr Poulter is promising to "regain and retain bus services, whether they originate in Cam-bridgeshire or Hertfordshire."

He is also demanding action from the police on "inappropriate speeding on country roads".

Sam Morris (Green) is also standing in the Mordens.

Controversial former councillor Robin Page is standing for election once more in the Haslingfield and Eversdens ward.

Mr Page, who resigned from the district council in 2006, is challenging Cllr Liz Heazell (Lib Dem), who has held the seat since 1995.

Cllr Heazell, who is currently chairman of the councils' scrutiny committee, said: "I believe in full consultation of the public and thorough research to aid policy- making."

Mandy Smith (Con) is also in the running. She is opposed to wind turbines at Merry's Farm, Great Eversden, which she said will "ruin one of the finest views in South Cambridgeshire for ever".

Harston and Hauxton are currently represented by Janet Lockwood (Lib Dem), who is in her second spell on the district council. She said she will continue to campaign for care and restraint on the "growth agenda" - the Government's growth plans for the expansion of Cambridge into surrounding villages.

"It is vital to stay well-informed at a time when plans for the future of our communities are being determined at such a fast pace."

Cllr Lockwood faces opposition from Richard Turner (Con) and Jackie Garfit (Green).

Mr Turner is also promising to do all he can to "keep developers at bay".

He added that he is concerned about the future of Harston post office: "If we lose the post office, there is a good chance that the shop may have to go as well. That is unacceptable."

Two seats are up for grabs in Gamlingay ward, one of which is currently vacant.

The other is held by Sebastian Kindersley (Lib Dem), who is standing again, alongside Bridget Smith (Lib Dem), Celia Waldron (Con) and Lister Wilson (Con).

Mrs Waldron and Mr Wilson are both pledging to take action on badly damaged roads in Gam-lingay and the surrounding villages, and would like to see a police crack-down on anti-social behaviour.

n Polling stations will open from 7am-10pm on Thursday, May 1.

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