Election win returns Linton’s county seat to Henry’s family

Linton's father and son councillors John and Henry Batchellor
Linton's father and son councillors John and Henry Batchellor
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Linton’s father and son councillors John and Henry Batchelor

Henry, now the county’s youngest councillor at 27, is taking back a seat his father John held for eight years and only lost four years ago by one vote.

In addition, father and son are also Linton’s councillors on South Cambridgeshire District Council.

In fact, when Henry was voted onto the district at 24 he became the youngest councillor the council had ever had.

Yet his dad, a veteran of 15 years on the district, said Henry had never shown any real interest in becoming a councillor until then, though being from a Liberal Democrat household he has been a party member for eight or nine years.

Henry said: “It came out of the blue, really.

“I hadn’t really thought about it – I knew they were looking for a candidate for the district and nobody had come up, then they asked if I was interested as I live in the area.”

Father and son agree there are not enough young councillors on any authority but believe the time constraints younger people have are at least partly to blame.

John said: “It’s not easy to get people to stand for local government and if you are young it’s difficult to fit it in. It’s all right for me, I’m retired, but it’s difficult to fit it in with work.

“You need a flexible job, which Henry has.”

Henry said he felt there was also a perception that standing for election to local government was for older people but he said: “I think it’s good for young people to get involved in local politics because a lot of the issues we deal with are ones young people should be interested in, like affordable housing.

“I’m really glad I stood. I would encourage more young people to become involved because you can have an impact on the area in which you live.”

He said he had seen that from his father’s work as a councillor over the years.

Unlike most new councillors, Henry does not have to go far if he needs advice on how things are done.

John said: “We can support each other – I’ve got a lot of experience so if he needs pointing in the right direction, I’m here to do that.

“On the other side, I’m completely inept at communications and he can guide me on those lines.”