Four candidates to contest county council seat in Soham North and Isleham ward

PUBLISHED: 15:38 01 October 2018 | UPDATED: 15:39 01 October 2018

(Top left clockwise) Conservative Mark Goldsack, Lib Dem Victoria Charlesworth, Labour Lee Jinks and Independent Geoffrey Woollard. PHOTOS: Submitted

(Top left clockwise) Conservative Mark Goldsack, Lib Dem Victoria Charlesworth, Labour Lee Jinks and Independent Geoffrey Woollard. PHOTOS: Submitted

Archant

A by-election is set to take place in the Soham North and Isleham ward following the departure of Paul Raynes as county councillor.

After only one year in office, Mr Raynes left his post for a £100,000 directorship with the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority.

He won the seat in the county council elections last year with 1,504 votes, nearly four times as many votes as Labour candidate Isobel Morris (371) and Lib Dem’s Rupert Moss-Eccardt (396).

Four candidates from all major parties have been nominated for the by-election, which is due to take place on Thursday, October 4.

Liberal Democrat candidate and teacher Victoria Charlesworth listed better facilities for children and better infrastructure, such as properly maintained roads and shorter waiting times at the Staploe medical centre, as her priorities.

She said: “The county council has made such a mess of our roads. The pothole situation was awful this winter and now this summer we find out they’ve gone £13m over budget on the bypass because they didn’t realise the fens were boggy.”

Contesting the seat for the Conservatives is district councillor Mark Goldsack, who claims his party is responsible for getting the Ely Bypass built and will deliver Soham Station and the A10 upgrade.

On the Ely Bypass, he said: “This is a truly epic piece of engineering and a vital piece of infrastructure for Soham and Isleham residents.”

Labour’s Lee Jinks has pledged to fight the cuts to police officers and PCSOs and to invest in schools, affordable housing, social services and roads, particularly the junctions on the A142.

“Simple and relatively inexpensive changes would have an important and immediate effect,” he said. “If elected I will press for urgent action to build a roundabout at the Northfield road junction.”

Geoffrey Woollard, standing as an independent, said fixing damaged roads, putting an end to outsourcing care for the elderly and campaigning for fairer funding for the county were priorities.

“My belief is that the electors of Soham and Isleham would welcome a new county councillor who will be loyal to them, not loyal to a political party,” he added.

Mr Raynes is the second East Cambs councillor to have a role within the combined authority, after former Ely councillor Tom Hunt was appointed as mayor James Palmer’s chief of staff.

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