Polling stations open for Medworth, Wisbech, by election to replace former mayor disqualified after gun charge trial

Nene Quay, Wisbech. Picture: Steve Williams.

Nene Quay, Wisbech. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

By-elections are being held in Wisbech today to replace Jonathan Farmer on Wisbech Town Council and Fenland District Council following his disqualification as a councillor.

Erbie Murat

Erbie Murat - Credit: Archant

Mr Farmer was automatically disqualified when he was given a 21-month suspended prison sentence on a firearms charge in August. He represented Medworth on both councils. The count is from 10pm tonight and this website will carry the full results in the early hours of tomorrow.

DISTRICT COUNCIL CANDIDATES: Kathy Dougall (Lab), Andrew Hunt (UKIP), Erbie Murat (Ind), Josie Ratcliffe (Lib Dem), Steve Tierney (Con).

TOWN COUNCIL CANDIDATES: Kathy Dougall (Lab), Andrew Hunt (UKIP), Erbie Murat (Ind), Jessica Oliver (Con).

Andrew Hunt

Andrew Hunt - Credit: Archant

Kathy Dougal Labour Party candidate

Kathy Dougal Labour Party candidate - Credit: Archant

Kathy Dougall (Labour)

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Mrs Dougall is retired and has lived in Wisbech for 12 years.

She has worked as older peoples’ advocate in Fenland for three years and has two and a half years experience as a volunteer with the Citizens Advice Bureau.

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Mrs Dougall says she strongly believes in social justice and equal rights for all.

Josie Ratcliffe

Josie Ratcliffe - Credit: Archant

She said: “I am saddened by the unchecked decline in Wisbech. The people of Wisbech deserve better than the continuous cuts in transport, the unchecked derelict buildings, the unchecked street drinking and the decline in our market place.

“I would work hard to improve and restore local transport and fight for more cycle lanes.

“I want to see zero tolerance to street drinking, anti-social behaviour and litter. I want to see a living wage for all and more favourable business rates for small and start-ups.”

Jessica Oliver

Jessica Oliver - Credit: Archant

Andrew Hunt (UKIP)

Mr Hunt has lived in Wisbech since he was a young child.

After school he had several local jobs, then went to London and worked as a police officer. He returned to Wisbech and spent 19 years working for Padley’s before starting his own business seven years ago.

“I am happily married with four children, in my spare time I enjoy gardening, and like foreign travel,” he said.

Steve Tierney

Steve Tierney - Credit: Archant

“Although I don’t live in Medworth, I live at the end of Weasenham Lane and know the area extremely well.

“I am a great believer in law and order and aim to get rid of the anti-social behaviour that nobody appreciates.

“I also intend to do more to re-let or sell the dilapidated boarded-up shops that blight the town centre.

“As an ex-policeman I will work for you and our community.

“We must end open door immigration. Change is coming – it’s time to put UKIP in Fenland.”

Erbie Murat (Independent)

Mr Murat hopes to use his more than three decades of experience in local government, 12 of which were as a city councillor in Peterborough.

He also worked for Huntingdonshire District Council, the London Borough of Islington and Leicester City Council.

In Wisbech, he was town clerk from November 2007 to November 2013, prior to which he worked for five years as a financial advisor, benefits advisor, and disability living allowance specialist for Fenland Citizens Advice Bureau.

He has carried out a range of voluntary activities, including as vice-chairman of Fenland Links, chairman of Wisbech Community Development Trust and board member for Fenland Arts.

He said: “Vote for honesty and integrity. Do not miss this chance to make a difference.”

He has lived and worked in Fenland for more than 15 years.

Jessica Oliver (Conservative)

Jessica is the daughter of district and town councillor David Oliver.

The 24-year-old is a teaching assistant at Peckover Primary School and enjoys working with children.

She is trained in first aid and archery and is a regular volunteer around town, including at Wisbech Social Club and The Institute, where she has been involved in its restoration.

Miss Oliver has run the girls venture corps air cadets for seven years and, as a volunteer, has taken part in Armed Forces Day, remembrance parades, Wisbech Rock Festival and the Christmas lights switch-on. She was a founder member of the Wisbech Youth Council.

Her aim is to hold regular public meetings to hear people’s views, work hard for the electorate and keep people informed with what is going on locally.

Josie Ratcliffe

(Liberal Democrat)

Ms Ratcliffe started her working life as a computer software engineer.

However, preferring to be outdoors, she followed that with stints as a milkman and lorry driver before landing a job with the

RSPB, promoting public awareness and support in protecting wild

bird life.

She now works in the logistics industry.

This year Josie received her 25 years long service award from the Scout Association for her voluntary role as a scout leader.

She says she enjoys being a scout leader, being able to give youngsters the chance of involving themselves in activities and taking on challenges that might otherwise not be available to them.

She is a qualified NVQ assessor and spends her working time supporting apprentices and helping people get a qualification.

She said: “A good local councillor communicates with local people and listens to residents’ views and opinions.

“Wisbech desperately needs investment – new shops, jobs and connections by rail to Peterborough, March and onwards to Cambridge. I’m passionately committed to learning, jobs and a stronger economy for the town.”

Steve Tierney (Conservative)

Steve Tierney, 46, describes himself as a games designer and player with firm Madhouse UK, and an entrepreneur.

He is a town councillor for Peckover ward and, until 2013,

was the county councillor for Roman Bank. He is also chairman of the Wisbech and District Conservatives.

A founder member of the Newton Street Pride and Leverington & Gorefield Conservatives, he is also NE Cambs Conservatives executive committee officer. He is the Eastern Conservatives Area Committee deputy chairman.

He has a keen interest in economics, politics and education. He is married with a son.

Cllr Tierney has worked closely with the Bowthorpe Association, a charity that helps and supports people suffering from mental illness, and is a prolific blogger on community life and local political news and views.

He said: “Wisbech is the capital of the Fens and it is time to remind people of that.”

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