Councillor describes appointment as "baptism of fire"

PUBLISHED: 16:37 07 May 2008 | UPDATED: 21:27 31 May 2010

Cllr Peter Topping

Cllr Peter Topping

WITH the prospect of an 8000-home eco-town looming on the horizon a newly elected councillor has described his appointment as a baptism of fire . Conservative candidate, Cllr Peter Topping, won the South Cambridgeshire District Council (SCDC) seat of Whi

WITH the prospect of an 8000-home eco-town looming on the horizon a newly elected councillor has described his appointment as a "baptism of fire".

Conservative candidate, Cllr Peter Topping, won the South Cambridgeshire District Council (SCDC) seat of Whitlesford in the Monday elections, but he was under no illusions about the challenges ahead

The first-time councillor said: "The biggest threat to this area is the Hanley Grange development - it would put a huge strain on the services and could wipe out the local shops in Whittlesford.

"And we've only got a couple of months to respond to the consultation, so we have to act quickly."

Cllr Topping ousted the Independent Cllr James Quinlan from the seat and beat Lib Dem candidate Michael Kilpatrick.

"I knew it was going to be close, but I always thought we could win it," said Cllr Topping. "It took a lot of hard work knocking on people's doors and listening to the voters and I am delighted with the result.

"The other big challenges will be protecting our under-threat post offices and providing better links for Heathfield, near Thriplow, to make it a greater part of the community."

A close fight in Sawston saw Independent Sally Hatton hang on to her seat, beating Conservative candidate Richard Denham by 38 votes.

Cllr Hatton said: "At one point I thought I was gone, but I'm absolutely delighted to have kept my seat."

Echoing Cllr Topping's concerns about the eco-town, Cllr Hatton said this was also the biggest challenge to face Sawston. "Stopping the development, I think will be a hard fight, I really do, but it is worth fighting for," she said.

"Every day I hear of accidents and hold-ups on the A1301, the A505 and the M11 and the development will only make this worse because most people who live there will be commuters."

Cllr John Batchelor, Lib Dem, held his seat in Linton by beating Conservative candidate Keith Hickford. Cllr Batchelor said he was "delighted" to hold the seat that has been his for 10 years.

As well as the prospect of an eco-town, Cllr Batchelor pointed to the "endless problems on the A1307 and the Linton wind farm" as the major issues to face his ward.

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