Meet the two candidates hoping to take shape the future of the Broads in chairmanship race

PUBLISHED: 14:32 25 July 2018 | UPDATED: 14:35 25 July 2018

The Norfolk Broads near Langley.
Picture: Nick Butcher

The Norfolk Broads near Langley. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2018

They are among the first things visitors to Norfolk think of when they come to the county and one of the crown jewels of the region.

The Norfolk Broads.

Picture: James BassThe Norfolk Broads. Picture: James Bass

Once sung about by David Bowie, The Broads are the envy of many other parts of the country, with picturesque landscapes, exclusive wildlife and endless tourist opportunities.

This week, a significant role in shaping the future of this treasure will change hands, with the Broads Authority electing a new chairman.

The two people hoping to secure the post are current vice chairman Haydn Thirtle, and Lana Hempsall, who has sat on the authority’s board for five years.

Mr Thirtle, also a county councillor, has been nominated by Bill Dickson, with his nomination seconded by Melani Vigo di Gallidoro.

Beautiful views abound on the Broads, pictured Thurne Dyke Mill on the river Thurne. Picture: Ian BurtBeautiful views abound on the Broads, pictured Thurne Dyke Mill on the river Thurne. Picture: Ian Burt

Mrs Hempsall, who also sits on Broadland District Council, was nominated by Kelvin Allen, seconded by Brian Wilkins.

Both have spoken of how they would take the Broads forward if they take on the chairmanship.

Mrs Hempsall has said the authority needs to follow the recommendations of a peer review carried out in 2017 “to the letter”, while Mr Thirtle has insisted it is not hindered by the past.

Mrs Hempsall said: “We need to work harder on stakeholder engagement. At the moment I feel we have a bit of a bad reputation in this area, which is in desperate need of being mended.

Haydn Thirtle, who is nominated to be Broads Authority chairmanPicture: James BassHaydn Thirtle, who is nominated to be Broads Authority chairmanPicture: James Bass

“We need a comprehensive review of stakeholder engagement and relationships are absolutely critical.”

Mr Thirtle has also emphasised the importance of the BA’s relationship with other local authorities, in particular parish councils.

He said: “The review suggested we are not engaging enough with our stakeholders which is something we really need to work on.

“One of the best ways we can go about doing this is through local forums, which could be a great way of building on the relationships we already have.”

Lana Hempsall, who is nominated to be Broads Authority chairman Picture: DENISE BRADLEYLana Hempsall, who is nominated to be Broads Authority chairman Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

If members elect Mrs Hempsall into the role, she has vowed to form a projects board, which include both members and stakeholders to explore a range of possibilities for the Broads.

She said: “We already have our Broads plan, however, a projects boards would open more opportunities for both our members and stakeholders to really use their talents and skills to make things happen.

“The project board would be a good opportunity for people to take ownership of projects and take them forward.”

Mr Thirtle said he was keen to engage tourists visiting the county from Australia and Germany, with both nations being identified as key target markets for the Broads.

He added: “I do feel there are people who have been talking the Broads down in recent years and have also been very critical of the Broads Authority.

“The authority is not a political organisation and I am keen for it to be run in this way.”

Members will decide on whether Mrs Hempsall or Mr Thirtle succeed Jacquie Burgess as chairman on Friday.

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