Great Yarmouth councillor “betrayed”

A LEADING Great Yarmouth councillor said this week she felt “disappointed and betrayed” after being de-selected from her seat and prevented from running again for Labour in her borough council ward.

Brenda Taylor has held the Nelson division since former Great Yarmouth mayor Sue Robinson died suddenly in office in 2007 and constituency members voted for her to represent them in the subsequent by-election.

Mrs Robinson’s son William also contested the seat and resigned his Labour Party membership to stand as an independent.

On Monday, however, a challenge from Mrs Robinson’s daughter Kerry Payne saw former mayoress Mrs Taylor de-selected following a constituency group vote by local branch members living within the Nelson ward, which runs from Regent Road to South Denes and is among the most deprived in Britain.

Having been forced out she said she had no plans to put herself forward in another ward, adding: “I was extremely disappointed and felt quite betrayed, but I have enjoyed serving the community to the best of my ability.”

Trevor Wainwright, secretary agent for the Great Yarmouth Constituency Labour Party, said just seven people had turned out for the secret ballot that led to Mrs Taylor’s de-selection.

He added that de-selections were uncommon because sitting councillors were usually unchallenged.

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He said: “The selection meeting was on Monday when each person had the opportunity to speak for five minutes and take five minutes of questions.

“Once the meeting finished the result was announced and Mrs Taylor did not get the majority vote. The membership of the ward is about 20 or 30 people but it just depends on who turns up on the night. In this case it was seven members and that was enough for it to be quorate.”

The de-selection prevents Mrs Taylor from standing for the Labour Party in the Nelson Ward although there are other seats she could put herself forward for.

“It does not happen a great deal because there is simply not often a challenge,” Mr Wainwright added.

Mrs Payne, who grew up in the Nelson ward and helped canvass for her mother, said she was “absolutely delighted” to be standing in the borough council election in May.

Leader of the Labour group at Great Yarmouth Borough Council, Mick Castle, said Mrs Taylor was an “energetic” councillor for her area.

Paying tribute to her efforts, he said: “She was the shadow cabinet member for the environment during 2008-9 and pressed successfully for action to prevent wheelie bins being left on the footpaths during last year’s successful “dirty stop-out” campaign run by GYBC. I shall be very sorry to lose her services on the Labour Group.”

The Conservatives currently have 24 seats on the council and Labour 15. Elections will be held in 13 wards on May 5, eight of which are Conservative and five Labour.

Former mayor Terry Easter, who has served on the council for 30 years is standing down from his Central and Northgate Ward.

l Voters are set to to go to the polls in the following wards currently held by the named councillor: Bradwell North, J Tate (C), Bradwell South and Hopton, S Hacon (C), Caister North B Cunniffe (C), Caister South, M Field (L), Central and Northgate, T Easter (L), Claydon, B Williamson (L), Fleggburgh, D Thomspon (C), Lothingland, M Thompson (C), Magdalen, B Walker (L), Nelson, B Taylor (L), Ormesby, J Shrimplin (C), St Andrews, B Watts, (C), West Flegg, M Coleman (C).