FENLAND: Tories win by election after councillor quit in protest over new sex shop for Guyhirn

THE Conservatives retained their stranglehold on Fenland District Council after winning a by election yesterday caused by the resignation of a councillor over a new sex shop. Robert Scrimshaw, a local farmer, topped the poll in the Parson Drove, Wisbech S

THE Conservatives retained their stranglehold on Fenland District Council after winning a by election yesterday caused by the resignation of a councillor over a new sex shop.

Robert Scrimshaw, a local farmer, topped the poll in the Parson Drove, Wisbech St Mary, Murrow, Guyhirn and Thorney Toll ward.

Mr Scrimshaw polled 512 votes, easily beating his nearest rival, the Lib Dem candidate Gavin Booth who polled 208 votes.

In third place was Labour's David Goode with 190 votes and Green Party candidate Paul Carpenter polled 101 votes. The turn out was 25 per cent.


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Mr Scrimshaw's victory returns the total number of Conservative councillors on Fenland District Council to 39. The 40 strong council is completed with one independent councillor.

Mr Scrimshaw's victory came after the surprise resignation of Phil Wait who had only held the seat since April before resigning over a row over the licensing committee's decision to grant consent for businessman Tony Ibrahim's Kiss Kiss sex shop at Guyhirn.

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Mr Wait argued that the council had made the wrong decision in granting a licence for the former Little Chef and said after the decision was taken that he felt disillusioned with the council. A short while later he resigned, despite an impassioned plea from Council Leader Geoff Harper and chief whip Kit Owen to remain.

"I just don't I feel I am going to be able to make a difference," said Mr Wait.

Meanwhile Mr Scrimshaw, who lives in Murrow, described the licensing committee as not being in the game of making moral judgements.

"They can only act within the law," he said "I can fully appreciate the concerns local residents have about the Guyhirn adult shop I also realise in today's economic climate encouragement should be given to a new business venture in a building which had been unoccupied for some time and was beginning to look quite shabby."

Mr Scrimshaw, chairman of Parson Drove Cricket Club, and vice chairman of Parson Drove Street Pride Group, was scathing in his views about his predecessor.

"It is unfortunate that the incumbent district councillor thought fit to resign over an issue where the council had limited power to act.

"It is usual to stay around and fight your corner."

He also criticised Mr Wait for forcing the council to spend £6,500 on election costs only eight months after the previous by election which had been called following the death of Cliff Edwards.

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