Berry good result for family in by-election

PUBLISHED: 12:44 09 January 2008 | UPDATED: 22:03 26 October 2009

Doug Berry makes it a family affair

Doug Berry makes it a family affair

DOUG Berry has 119 days to make his mark in Welham Green. That s how long it is until all seats on Welwyn Hatfield Council are up grabs in a full round of elections. The Tory party nominee was voted into office at Thursday s by-election in the village. He

The village polling station

DOUG Berry has 119 days to make his mark in Welham Green.

That's how long it is until all seats on Welwyn Hatfield Council are up grabs in a full round of elections.

The Tory party nominee was voted into office at Thursday's by-election in the village.

He polled 539 votes, just ahead of Lib Dem candidate John Elvy on 483 - slashing the Tory majority from over 500 to just 55 votes.

Pauline Smith

But Cllr Berry, 50, plans to use his four months wisely. He told the WHT: "I plan to get stuck in with residents' issues as and when they arise and follow up on the pledges I gave in my election literature, such as the travellers' site and parking issues.

"The timing of the election is something I couldn't do anything about, but I'm very pleased I got in."

Council meetings will also be a bit of a family affair, as his wife Clare and daughter Hannah are already sitting councillors.

Speaking after the count, Mr Elvy said: "I'd like to thank all of those who voted for me.

Jonathan Robinson

"I was relishing the opportunity to represent the people of Welham Green and have appreciated the warm reception given to me by local residents."

Mark Fuller (BNP) received 214 votes, and Bridie Croft (Lab) got 88.

The by-election had been called after Peter O'Brien resigned in October following allegations of child porn being found on his council laptop.

# The turnout was 46.6 per cent - following high-level campaigning from the political parties.

Council chief executive Michel Saminaden said: "We were pleased with the high turnout which shows that people respond when politicians contact them directly.

"I'm thankful to staff for their hard work which ensured that the day ran smoothly, and to the police in their supporting role throughout the day."

And what did the public make of it all?

THE by-election had been billed as "a complete waste of time and energy" by the chief executive of Welwyn Hatfield Council.

But voters in Welham Green had mixed views about their right to last week's poll.

A man from the village, who did not want to be named, said: "It's been hard fought to get this election.

"This gives us a full voice, which is important, especially in the light of plans for a travellers' site in Bell Bar."

A woman from the village, who did not want to be named, said: "The by-election is a complete waste of time.

"People feel that the councillors don't sort out the problems here, like traveller sites, and that the Bell Bar site has already been privately agreed."

Cindy Weedon said: "I know a lot of people are voting.

"I hope they don't join us up to Hatfield and it's important we keep our identity, which hopefully a councillor will do."

Pauline Smith said: "The village needs a person to represent them, so this is a good opportunity for the village.

"It can look a right mess, especially around the parade of shops, so I hope whoever gets in sorts it out."

Jonathan Robinson said: "This gives us a chance to have a voice.

"We have our own issues here that need to be looked at, like some of the village crime which is a big issue."

A woman who did not want to be named said: "I have been to vote and I would like to see the new councillor deal with the youth issues here.

"We complain that they cause trouble, but we don't give them somewhere to go, so I would like to see a new councillor set up a youth club.

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