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New Town Hall leader pledges “period of reflection on options”

PUBLISHED: 17:10 10 May 2012

Keeping his seat, Michael Jeal: Nelson (Labour). Picture: James Bass

Keeping his seat, Michael Jeal: Nelson (Labour). Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2012

NEW borough council leader Trevor Wainwright pledged “a period of reflection on the options open to the council,” as Labour reverse decisions made about shared management.

The Conservative group had pressed ahead with plans to share resources – and a chief executive – with South Holland and Breckland District councils.

But Cllr Wainwright said councillors would now consult with staff and partners about the best way forward for the borough. He said: “We are fully supportive of sharing services but we will try to work with closer authorities, such as Waveney. We have got far more in common and it’s something we will be progressing with.”

However. Breckland leader William Nunn said he was disappointed and saddened by the reaction of Labour.

“They are not taking into account the future – it’s a knee jerk reaction. The shared management could save all areas a lot of money. I would be happy if they reconsidered. I believe the deal will save them nearly £500,000. Walking away could cost them that.”

Mr Wainwright told the Mercury his new administration would be “more accessible, open and transparent”, and put their success at last week’s elections down to hard work and talking to people on the doorstep.

He said: “People were saying, after 12 years of Conservative control, that the Tories were out of touch and not listening.”

The new deputy leader will be Cllr Brian Walker who would also hold the cabinet portfolio for resources.

The remainder of the inner sanctum cabinet were due to be appointed at the group’s annual meeting on Wednesday.

The Tories unanimously elected Ron Hanton as their new group leader, and he has chosen current mayor and former leader Barry Coleman as his right hand man and deputy.

Cllr Hanton believed the electoral changes in Yarmouth reflected the national trend. He said: “Unfortunately, this has resulted in the loss of a number of committed Conservative councillors who, over a number of years, have worked tirelessly for the benefit of their respective communities and to whom I now extend a well earned thanks.”

Regarding his deputy, he added: “Barry Coleman has a wealth of experience in local politics, spanning back many years and he will prove to be an invaluable resource for all of our Conservative group who themselves form a very strong and experienced team.”

Mr Hanton said: “The request for a change, which the electorate has demonstrated by their vote, has been noted and we will have to evaluate and reflect on that view expressed.

“In the meantime we will be a responsible opposition and will await and see what policies come out from the controlling Labour group.

“All of these will be treated on their merits and we will respond accordingly.

“Great Yarmouth Conservatives remain committed to supporting and improving the quality of life for all the residents of the borough.”

The election proved a good night for UKIP – although none of their candidates won a seat they still captured a total of 3,615 votes across the 13 wards.

UKIP organiser in Yarmouth, Matthew Smith, said: “Over one in five people voted UKIP and in many seats we beat the Labour Party and not just the Conservatives.

“In Gorleston ward we came just 48 votes shy of taking one of the safest Conservative seats on the council.”

And Mr Smith warned: “We will strive to work hard and campaign across the borough, and will continue to prove we are the real alternative to the Labour and Conservative Parties in the borough.

“Great Yarmouth residents deserve better representation and we believe we can offer this.”

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