Great Yarmouth councillor to defend seat

A PROMINENT Great Yarmouth councillor, de-selected by her party, is to defend her seat as an Independent on May 5.

Brenda Taylor announced this week her intention to stand in the election for the Nelson borough council ward she has held since Great Yarmouth Mayor Sue Robinson died suddenly in office in 2007.

Her decision comes following a Labour constituency group vote by local members living within the ward, which chose Mrs Robinson’s daughter Kerry Payne, to represent them instead.

This week, however, former mayoress Mrs Taylor said that, buoyed by the encouragement of local people, she intended to seek re-election as an Independent.

She said: “I believe a councillor should live within the ward, as I do, to really understand local problems and desires. Over nearly four years, I have served on the shadow cabinet on various committees and that has enabled me to support the redevelopment of St George’s Park, the Art College, St George’s Chapel, the library and tourism, and also help individual residents.

“This is a decision to which I have given much thought and not taken lightly. Being Independent will free me from obeying party political decisions, allowing me to act totally in the interests of Nelson ward residents.”

The ward runs from Regent Road to South Denes and is among the most deprived in Britain.

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But while the net is being cast for councillors across 13 of the borough’s wards, officials will have an election mountain to climb with two others to organise on the same day. In some wards, it is possible voters will be asked to vote in four elections.

Alongside borough and some parish elections, people will be asked about electroral reform and whether they want to stick with the first-past-the-post system or move to the Alternative Vote where candidates are marked in preference.

There will also be a referendum on whether people want an elected mayor.

The deadline for nominations in the borough council election is April 4. The Conservatives currently have 24 seats 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.

Voters are set 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 Thompson (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).