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'I had the collywobbles': Great Yarmouth borough council leader quits

PUBLISHED: 14:41 08 May 2019 | UPDATED: 15:47 08 May 2019

Graham Plant is stepping down as leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council Picture: Ella Wilkinson

Graham Plant is stepping down as leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council Picture: Ella Wilkinson

Archant

The leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council has announced he is stepping down after four years in the role.

Carl Smith, new leader Great Yarmouth Borough Council. Picture: Ella WilkinsonCarl Smith, new leader Great Yarmouth Borough Council. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

Graham Plant said he wanted to devote more time to his new county council cabinet position which includes a responsibility to "grow the economy."

Mr Plant, who will carry on as deputy leader and representing his Bradwell north ward on the borough council, said it had been a difficult decision.

He was handed one of ten new cabinet roles at Norfolk County Council on Tuesday May 7.

Anticipating it would take up more of his time he told fellow Conservatives at a group meeting on Tuesday evening that he would be stepping down.

His proposal that Carl Smith becomes the new Conservative group leader was seconded and unanimously agreed, he said.

Mr Plant said; "it was a difficult decision. I had the collywobbles about it.

"It is a matter of head over heart.

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"It's the end of an era but something new for me. It is a reasonable assumption that I need to manage my time, but even as deputy I will have some influence."

Mr Plant, who is also deputy leader of Norfolk County Council, said Yarmouth was in a good place in terms of inward investment with the third river crossing, Waterways project and Marina Centre rebuild among projects that were coming forward.

At county level there was still a challenge though with the authority looking to shave £70m off its annual £1.3bn budget over the next three years.

Carl Smith, who also represents the Bradwell North ward, is the current deputy council leader and chairman of the environment committee.

Mr Plant said: "I made him cabinet member and he has really galloped along. I have no hesitation in handing him the reins and am confident he will take Yarmouth forward."

He added that strategically he would still be able to make a case for Great Yarmouth in his county role.

Mr Smith said he was looking forward to the challenge over the next four years adding he was "delighted."

He was elected to the council in 2015 and was immediately made cabinet member for the environment.

He has been deputy leader for two years.

The first meeting of the new full council will take place on Thursday May 16 with members deciding who they want as leader and deputy leader as well as making appointments to committees.

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