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Five go head-to-head in by-election

PUBLISHED: 16:52 17 January 2008 | UPDATED: 10:18 03 July 2010

Laura Bagshaw

FIVE candidates will go head-to-head in the borough council by-election for Bradwell South and Hopton ward next month.

The vacancy was created following the resignation of Conservative councillor Brian Howard in October last year, who cited the planned local government shake-up for giving up his seat of nine years.

FIVE candidates will go head-to-head in the borough council by-election for Bradwell South and Hopton ward next month.

The vacancy was created following the resignation of Conservative councillor Brian Howard in October last year, who cited the planned local government shake-up for giving up his seat of nine years.

The Tories have chosen Great Yarmouth's In Bloom champion Susan Hacon to fight to retain the seat on February 7.

Mrs Hacon, 61, has been involved in the In Bloom scheme for 20 years and said it was that role which influenced her decision to go into politics.

The mother-of-two, originally from Sheffield but who has lived in the area says that her role of In Bloom co-ordinator influenced her to get into politics. She said: “I think over the years as co-ordinator I have had contact with many departments at the borough council and GYB Services. You get and overall picture of how things are done and that is how my interest started.”

Mrs Hacon, who comes from Sheffield, married a Yarmouth man, and has lived here for 25 years.

If elected Mrs Hacon, of Lords Lane, Bradwell, intends to focus on environmental issues affecting the area. She said: “I'm acutely aware of traffic issues and future building on green belt land. I would take a deep interest in that ensuring that infrastructure is in place before more houses.”

Labour is fielding the election's youngest candidate Jo Vriesema, 28, of Mill Lane, Bradwell.

Miss Vriesema was born and grew up in Bradwell and was inspired to get into politics through her charity work with Open Door.

She said: “When the late Sue Robinson was mayor she visited a party the charity had put on. I didn't realise how much councillors got involved with in the local community and I thought it was nice they showed they care.”

A former pupil of Lynn Grove High School and Yarmouth College she works at Superdrug. And if elected Miss Vriesema would focus on key local issues such as safe access to local schools, infrastructure improvements to reduce traffic chaos on major roads, and bus services.

Liberal Democrat candidate Aleck Buchanan has been involved in several local projects including Hopton in Bloom, Hopton Times magazine and he is a former chairman of Hopton Village Hall Committee.

Mr Buchanan, of Watsons Close, also led the campaign Broadband for Hopton which brought high speed internet connection to the area.

He said: “There are many local issues I would champion on the council if I'm elected. I'm very concerned about the impact on our community of coastal erosion - our defences are in great need of repair work. I also want to see more investment in local amenities, including our village halls and youth facilities.”

Another concern was the future of the local post offices.

The Green Party hope it will be third time lucky with Ian Holman, who stood in last May's elections in Claydon Ward and last November's by-election for Nelson Ward.

Mr Holman, of Burnt Lane, Gorleston, joined the Greens in 2006 after becoming more concerned with climate change and the need to recycle. Originally from Croydon, Mr Holman, 52, worked as a council planning officer for 25 years.

He holidayed in Yarmouth and the Broads during the 1970s and decided to move to Gorleston 10 years ago. He is semi-retired.

If elected, Mr Holman would focus on how Yarmouth could play its part in tackling climate change.

He said: “We need a huge investment in renewable energy - like at Scroby Sands - all over the country, to avoid sea level rises that would be devastating to Yarmouth.”

UKIP candidate Colin Aldred said his aim, if elected, would be to listen to the concerns from local people and try to solve problems by approaching the appropriate department at the council.

“Council tax is one of the main issues I would delve into. People need to know what they are getting for their money. It goes up each year but we don't get any more services,” he said.

Refuse collection and coastal sea defences are other issues Mr Aldred, 63, of Groomes Close, Hopton, is interested in tackling.

“A lot of people are not happy about refuse collection in the summer. The fortnightly collection means food waste can cause problems with vermin and smells.”

Security officer Mr Aldred was born and grew up in Lowestoft and has lived in Hopton for 20 years. He served in the Royal Navy for 15 years and is a qualified nurse. He stood in the elections last May for Hopton.

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