Norfolk County Council Elections 2021: Spotlight on Great Yarmouth
- Credit: James Bass
One of the most intriguing battles for any Norfolk County Council seat will be in one of the Great Yarmouth divisions.
Mick Castle first became a county councillor in 1988.He was county councillor for Yar, Southtown and Cobholm until 2005 and for Yarmouth North and Central from 2013, initially as a Labour councillor and, more recently, as an Independent.
Mr Castle quit Labour six months ago after he retained the seat in 2017 after falling out with the party over his support for merging North Denes Primary School and Alderman Swindell Primary School.
But Mr Castle is not standing on May 6 and there is likely to be a mighty fight to succeed him in the ward.
In 2017, just 35 votes separated Mr Castle, then still on the Labour side, from his Conservative opponent James Bensly.
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The Conservative candidate Graham Carpenter, who represents Caister North on the borough council, will be hoping to take the seat this time.
But Labour will be determined to retain the seat through their candidate Sandy Lysaght, a mother-of-four who had campaigned against the closure of the Alderman Swindell school.
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UKIP, who came third in 2017, are fielding Carrie Talbot as their candidate, while Tony Harris, who came fourth last time out, is the Liberal Democrat choice.
The Green candidate is Anne Killett while Ron Ellis is standing as an independent.
As for Mr Bensly, who ran Mr Castle so close four years ago, he is the Conservative candidate for East Flegg, a ward he represents at the borough council level.
He is hoping to retain the county seat being vacated by Ron Hanton.
Elsewhere, Andy Grant, the Conservative cabinet member for environment and waste is switching divisions.
In 2017, Mr Grant saw off UKIP's Carl Annison to win the Lothingland seat for the Conservatives.
This time around, Mr Grant is standing in West Flegg, with Mr Annison the Conservative candidate for Lothingland.
Mr Annison is up against former Great Yarmouth Labour MP Tony Wright, Green Trevor Rawson and Independent Adrian Myers.
Meanwhile, Mr Grant will look to retain the West Flegg seat Haydn Thirtle won in 2017.
His opponents are Lib Dem Rebecca Woods, Green Emma Punchard and Labour's Claire Wardley.
Labour will be keen that Mike Smith-Clare and Colleen Walker can hold on to their respective divisions of Yarmouth North and Central and Magdalen.
Mr Smith-Clare faces a challenge from four opponents - Conservative Daniel Candon, Lib Dem Mark Godfrey, Green Rebecca Durant and Mick Riley, from the Reform Party.
Last time, when Labour won the seat from UKIP, Mr Smith-Clare took just under 43pc of the vote.
Elsewhere, Graham Plant, the deputy leader of Norfolk County Council and cabinet member for growing the economy, will aim to keep the Gorleston St Andrew's seat in the hands of the Tories.
In 2017 he saw off the threat of Labour by 311 votes. His opponents this time around are Labour's Jo Thurtle, Green Tracey Darnell and Lib Dem Gordon Smith.
Great Yarmouth Borough Council leader Carl Smith will endeavour to hold Breydon for the Conservatives.
Among his opponents is Trevor Wainwright, leader of the Labour group on the borough council, along with Lib Dem Gareth Howe and Green Hannah Morris.
All 84 seats at Norfolk County Council are being contested on May 6.
The council's political make-up is Conservatives 52, Labour 16, Liberal Democrats nine, Independent three, Independent (non-aligned) one, non-aligned one and two vacancies.
Who are the candidates in Great Yarmouth?
Breydon: Gareth Howe (LD), Hannah Morris (G), Carl Smith * (C), Trevor Wainwright (L)
Lothingland: Carl Annison (C), Adrian Myers (I), Trevor Rawson (G), Tony Wright (L)
East Flegg: James Bensly (C), Edd Bush (L), Hannah Gray (G), Nicholas Read (LD)
Caister on Sea: Penny Carpenter * (C), Stuart Hellingsworth (L), Kenneth Petersen (G)
Yarmouth north and central: Graham Carpenter (C), Ron Ellis (I), Tony Harris (LD) Anne Killett (G), Sandy Lysaght (L), Carrie Talbot (UKIP)
Magdalen: Ivan Murray-Smith (C), Georgie Oatley (G), Colleen Walker * (L)
West Flegg: Andy Grant (C), Emma Punchard (G), Claire Wardley (L), Rebecca Woods (LD)
Gorleston St Andrews: Tracey Darnell (G), Graham Plant * (C), Gordon Smith (LD), Jo Thurtle (L)
Yarmouth Nelson and South Town: Daniel Candon (C), Rebecca Durant (G), Mark Godfrey (LD), Mick Riley (Reform), Mike Smith-Clare * (L)
* Denotes sitting councillor