Voters across Forest Heath and East Cambridgeshire will go to the polls on May 4 to elect their representatives on Suffolk and Cambridgeshire county councils for the next four years.
Candidates standing for election in both counties were revealed yesterday.
The Ipswich-based Suffolk authority is currently controlled by the Tories who have 37 seats, Labour have 15 UKIP nine, eight for the Liberal Democrats, three for Independents and two for the Greens. The Conservatives will be hoping to increase their majority after falling into a minority administration following two recent by-election losses.
In the Forest Heath ward of Newmarket and Exning, Dave Hudson, who sprang something of a surprise four years ago when winning the seat for UKIP, is bidding to retain his seat but faces tough opposition from the Conservatives who have put up town councillor and former mayor Rachel Hood, and from the West Suffolk Independents represented by Exning parish and district councillor Simon Cole. Town councillor Mick Jefferys is the Labour candidate with Martin Redbond, who lives near Ipswich, the Liberal Democrat candidate.
It’s also a four horse race for the Newmarket and Red Lodge seat, with Conservative Robin Millar, elected in February last year in the by-election caused by the sudden resignation of former council leader, Lisa Chambers, bidding to hold on to the seat but facing challenges from town and district councillor Andy Appleby for the West Suffolk Independents, former Tory now UKIP district councillor Roger Dicker, former town councillor Joy Uney (Labour) and Liberal Democrat Andrew Gillett.
In the Rowheath ward current county council leader Colin Noble is defending his seat for the Tories from Ralph Brownie (Liberal Democrat), Jack Fawbert (Labour) and David Gathercole and John Smith who are both standing as independents.
In the Mildenhall division Louis Busuttil will be bidding to hold the seat for the Conservatives, replacing district council leader James Waters. Also standing are David Chandler as an independent and Kevin Yarrow for Labour.
In East Cambridgeshire there is a change to the look of some of the electoral divisions in the wake of boundary changes.
In Soham James Palmer, hot favourite to become Cambridgeshire and Peterborough’s new mayor, has stepped away from the county council elections with Paul Raynes standing for the Tories in the Soham North and Isleham division against Isobel Morris for Labour and Rupert Moss-Eccardt for the Liberal Democrats while in the new Soham South and Haddenham seat, current Haddenham county councillor Bill Hunt is representing the Conservatives against Andy Cogan for the Greens, Lydia Hill (Labour) and Pauline Wilson )Liberal Democrats.
Other familiar names hoping to emulate past successes include Conservative Joshua Schumann, who lives in Soham but is standing in the Burwell division, which also includes Chippenham, Fordham, Kennett, Reach, Snailwell and Swaffham Prior, replacing David Brown who had held the seat. He will face an all female challenge from Liberal Democrat Charlotte Cane, Liz Swift (Labour) and FloraMay Waterhouse for the Green Party.
Tory Matthew Shuter will be defending his Wood Ditton seat in a division which includes part of Newmarket, as well a host of villages including Bottisham, Cheveley, Dullingham, Kirtling, Lode, Ashley, Stetchworth, Swaffham Bulbeck and Ashley. He is up against Steven O’Dell (Labour) and John Trapp (Liberal Democrats).
Both the Ely divisions are three-horse races, In Ely North, there will be a new face at Shire hall as veteran councillor Mike Rouse is not among the nominations. The candidates are Lis Every (Conservative), Mark Hucker (Labour) and Alison Whelan (Liberal Democrat) while in Ely South, Conservative Anna Bailey is defending her seat against Rebecca Denness (Labour) and Christine Whelan (Liberal Democrats).