Bradwell councillor gains county role

GREAT Yarmouth’s third river crossing is set to be among the top priorities for the new man driving the county’s travel and transport schemes.

Bradwell businessman Graham Plant, who already holds a cabinet position at Yarmouth Borough Council, was this week handed a powerful new role at Norfolk County Council by its new leader Derrick Murphy.

It sees the Breydon county councillor – described as “extremely gifted” – take over from one of County Hall’s longest serving front bench councillors Adrian Gunson.

Announcing the appointment, Mr Murphy said: “Adrian has been on the cabinet for 10 years and has done a lot of really good stuff but, given the issues we are facing in terms of financial restrictions, I just wanted to bring in a new face to deal with the challenges. Graham Plant has got an excellent track record working with Great Yarmouth Borough Council, and I’ve always regarded him as an extremely gifted member of the group.”

Mr Plant’s array of responsibilities include highways, road maintenance, winter gritting, improvement schemes, road safety, cycling and pedestrian facilities (footways, crossings and cycle routes), strategic transport, planning for the transport needs of major urban centres such as Norwich, Yarmouth, King’s Lynn and Thetford, and for market towns, public transport, including park and ride, subsidised bus services and home-to-school transport.

This week Mr Plant, who was on a study visit to Blackpool as cabinet member for regneration and tourism for the borough council, paid tribute to his predecessor Mr Gunson and said it was a great honour to be asked to take on the important role helping to shape the county’s future.

He said: “I am not sure when we last saw anyone from Yarmouth on the cabinet at county level and it is a great honour to be asked. The most important project is dualling the A11 but from Yarmouth’s point of view I shall be encouraging the third river crossing. There are some very important projects and I have to ensure they are brought to the fore.”

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Mr Plant said this week he intended to carry on with his borough council cabinet role, adding: “The work that I am already doing needs to be seen through and there are some very important issues that need to be ironed out.”

County council spokesman John Birchall said that having someone with a thorough understanding of Yarmouth’s transport difficulties in such a key post could only be advantageous to the town, although he stressed the wider county role that would take a fair amount of his focus as well.

Mr Plant, 53, attended Alderman Leach Secondary School in Gorleston, is married to Laraine and has three grown-up children. His businesses include the Italian Restaurant in King Street, Yarmouth, and the Tan Lane fish and chip shop in Caister.

He has served on the borough council for 10 years and was elected to the county council last year, taking the seat from Labour’s Trevor Wainwright.