Long standing Great Yarmouth Labour member Mick Castle leaves party and council group
A long standing Labour supporter and county councillor has resigned from his party group and become an independent.
Great Yarmouth councillor Mick Castle has left the Labour Group at Norfolk County Council.
Mr Castle, who represents Yarmouth North and Central Division, had been a Labour councillor for 30 years and a member of the Labour Party for more than 40 years.
He says he has become an independent because of the way the Labour group treated him over his support of merging North Denes Primary School and Alderman Swindell Primary School as part of a £7m county council project.
Mr Castle was pitted against fellow party councillors during a Labour motion vote on having a council committee scrutinise the closure plans before the final decision was made.
That motion was not supported by Mr Castle, who says the schools merger will provide 21st century education for children in his ward.
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In a resignation letter Mr Castle said: “It is with deep sadness that I resign from membership of the Norfolk County Council Labour Group with effect from Friday.
“I feel extremely badly treated by the group with regard to my support for new £7m school buildings for the North Denes Primary School in my division and the establishment of a new special school in the old Alderman Swindell site.
“I will of course continue to support Labour in the chamber but I will sit now as an independent in order to better represent my constituents in Yarmouth North and Central and to campaign for the things that I feel are important for my particular community.
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“It will come as a wretch after over 40 years as a Labour Party member and after 30 years service as a local councillor firstly for Southtown and Cobholm and now for Yarmouth and Central.”
The letter adds: “I do not wish to leave with any rancour and I wish my colleagues old and new my best wishes for the future. I am sure that we will work together to oppose the Tory cuts which loom ahead over the next three years.”
Mr Castle also said the party has been good to him and he had thoroughly enjoyed the opportunities he had to influence events as a key member of the Celia Cameron and George Nobbs administrations at County Hall.