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Good response to Yarmouth mayor plans

PUBLISHED: 15:38 10 October 2009 | UPDATED: 15:16 03 July 2010

THERE has been a good response to petition forms aiming to force the election of a mayor and leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council - the public choosing rather than the political party with the most councillors.

THERE has been a good response to petition forms aiming to force the election of a mayor and leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council - the public choosing rather than the political party with the most councillors.

More than 3,500 people eligible to vote in the borough are needed to sign to call for an elected leader, and organisers hope to have collected enough by the end of the year. This would enable an election to take place at the same time as the expected general election in May next year.

The new mayor would be the figurehead of the authority and the “buck would stop with him or her,” say the organisers of the plan, former borough and county councillor Trevor Wainwright and current leader of the Labour group on the borough authority, Mick Castle.

Last week, the two told The Mercury they were not putting forward the idea as anything political, but instead hoped it would create a “bit of excitement” in the borough where election turnouts have historically been very low in recent years.

Anyone could put their name forward to stand and would not need to belong to any political party. In fact Hartlepool, an area similar in size to Yarmouth on the north-east coast, has had an elected mayor and leader since 2002.

Stuart Drummond stood as an independent as a joke as H'Angus the Monkey - something which found favour with the electorate - and he was swept in under a tide of disillusionment with local politicians.

The former call centre worker with little or no council experience seven years ago, now runs an authority overseeing 4,000 staff and a £100m-plus revenue budget.

An elected leader would choose his own cross-party cabinet, effectively getting rid of the current Tory or former Labour-controlled groups.

Anyone wanting to sign the petition can contact Trevor Wainwright, 11 Lapwing Close, Bradwell. Tel 01493 441001 or email trevwainwright@btinternet.com; or Mick Castle, 10 Town Wall Road, Great Yarmouth. Tel 01493 844552 or email michael.castle50@

ntlworld.com.


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