Wisbech taxi chief Dave Patrick to stand for vacant Fenland Council seat as Lib Dem
WISBECH taxi drivers leader Dave Patrick will be out to prove that if you can t beat them, join them as he sets out to become a district councillor. For too long the views of Wisbech residents have been ignored, he said.
Story by: ELAINE KING
WISBECH taxi drivers' leader Dave Patrick will be out to prove that if you can't beat them, join them as he sets out to become a district councillor.
"For too long the views of Wisbech residents have been ignored," he said' "The town needs someone to stand up for us, and Fenland District Council needs some opposition."
Mr Patrick has put himself forward as a Liberal Democrat candidate in next month's by election for the town, district council and county council seat.
Mr Patrick, who last week called the council's licensing committee "a kangaroo court," is standing for the vacant Kirkgate ward.
"I want to provide the people of Wisbech with an effective voice - at town, district and county level," he said.
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"The town council fully supported us staying on the Horsefair. The committee simply hasn't listened to the people of Wisbech and councillors have ignored the views of their electorate."
Meanwhile he continues to lobby against the planned Horsefair taxi rank closure and is helping to co-ordinate a mass rally in Wisbech next Wednesday morning.
Drivers will hand over a 4,000 signature petition to Fenland District Council, calling for the decision to be overturned.
Fenland District Council licensing committed narrowly voted to remove all taxis from the Horsefair.
"Three councillors who may have supported us were unable to attend the meeting, if they had been present, there would have been a different outcome," said Mr Patrick.
This week Mr Patrick met Fenland Council Leader Councillor Alan Melton, asking for the decision to be reconsidered.
The Kirkgate vacancy arose following the death of Councillor Les Sims who was returned unopposed to the district council in 2007 and in 2009 he polled nearly four times more votes than the Lib Dem candidate Diane Baldry in the county election.
Peter Roberts, Labour's spokesman, criticised the calling of an election, so close to the date of an expected general election.
"The party that called this by-election so close to the General Election should hang its head in shame," he said. "It has cost the taxpayers' in Fenland an additional �6,500 in costs," he claimed.
"This is a classic example of playing politics with other people's money."
A council spokesman confirmed that members of the electorate called for an election, by letter on February 26.
"Once that happens, an election must be held within 35 days, so we could not wait until the projected General Election date of May 6," he added.