Turn out of just 16.74 per cent as taxi driver Billy Rackley clocks up notable victory in Wisbech Town by election

PUBLISHED: 10:43 09 December 2016 | UPDATED: 10:43 09 December 2016

Billy Rackley

Billy Rackley

Archant

Taxi driver Billy Rackley for the Conservatives won a decisive victory over UKIP in the Wisbech Town Council by-election caused by the dismissal for non attendance of a disabled UKIP councillor.

Cllr Rackley is a newcomer to politics and during the campaign pledged that fighting for North Cambs Hospital “surely has to be a priority for whoever gets in”.

He said: “I don’t profess to work for any party; all I can promise to do is to go to as many council meetings as possible.

“And to have a more hands on approach to dealing with people’s problems as go and see them; then going back and updating them.”

In the run up to the poll – which he won with 416 votes over UKIP’s Paul Clapp (also a county councillor) who polled 236 votes- Cllr Rackley insisted on referring to the Waterless ward he was contesting as North Ward.

It is now likely there will be moves to change the ward’s name. Fellow Tory councillor Samantha Hoy, in a congratulatory message today to Cllr Rackley, also trumpeted his success as “town councillor for the North ward”.

Labour decided not to contest the election for the Waterlees vacancy following the row over the removal of UKIP councillor Brenda Lay.

Mrs Lay fell foul of the six month rule and was automatically disqualified after failing to attend a council meeting during that time. She protested her disability made access to the council chamber difficult – a view shared by independent councillors Michael and Virginia Bucknor and her own husband, Alan, who remains a town council member.

Mrs Lay continues to protest her removal claiming the council chambers offers “no disability parking area close by, there is no permanent disabled access provided, only a temporary one, and the access slope has to be assembled by two men.

“When fitted, the only way in for pedestrians is up the slope, which has no hand rail but has a trip edge, designed for the scooter, incidentally the ramp was built to guess work, not to any real measures taken, and there are much larger scooters used by disabled people.”

She also says the council chamber also has “no disabled toilet, or washing facility and no fire or alternative escape route to the building.

Mrs Lay added: “My conclusion is that not enough has been done and that no real attempt was ever made to find me an alternative venue.”

(Turn out in yesterday’s election was 16.74 per cent)


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