County council Yare and All-Saints by-election candidates grilled at public hustings

PUBLISHED: 10:57 11 July 2018 | UPDATED: 11:05 12 July 2018

Ed Connolly. Picture supplied by: Norfolk Conservatives

Ed Connolly. Picture supplied by: Norfolk Conservatives

Harry Clarke/Norfolk Conservatives/Colin King

Candidates vying to take over Cliff Jordan’s old Norfolk County Council seat had the chance to convince voters they were up for the job.

Yaxham Parish Council welcomed residents to a packed public hustings held in the village hall on Tuesday, July 10, which had to be relocated from a meeting room to the main hall.

The three candidates running in the Yare and All-Saints by-election set out their stalls and answered questions during the 90 minute long event.

Harry Clarke (Lab), Ed Connolly (Cons), and Andrew Thorpe (Lib Dem) are running for the former Conservative council leader’s seat.

Read more: Candidates for Norfolk County Council Yare and All Saints by-election revealed

Parish council vice-chairman, Ian Martin, said: “The big concern in the village is development and obviously the district council deals with planning, but the county council has responsibilty for lots of infrastructure issues.

“The school in Yaxham is full and there’s no capacity to expand.

“The candidates said they would take account of people’s concerns, especially the development issue.”

Almost 60 residents attended the hustings, which is 10pc of the Yaxham parish’s 670 electors.

Peter Lowings, chairman of the parish council, welcomed voters.

He said: “It was parishioners at the last parish council meeting who called for this opportunity to meet, hear and question the by-election candidates.

“Our thanks to all the candidates for agreeing to attend and to Graham Tuttle for agreeing to chair the hustings.”

Read more: By-election hustings for Norfolk County Council Yare and All Saints division planned

Mr Tuttle, a former resident of Yaxham and the current chief executive of the Priscilla Bacon Trust, thanked the candidates and the public for attending.

Each candidate delivered an opening statement, followed by a question and answer session, and the hustings, which began at 7.30pm, concluded at 9pm, after closing statements.

Questions from voters ranged from the topics of stopping large development and support for the elderly and vulnerable to county councillor allowances, traffic problems in Dereham, and a recent vote of no confidence in a Yaxham parish councillor.

Mr Jordan, who chaired County Hall since May 2016, stepped down in May this year following a lung cancer diagnosis.

He died just weeks later, aged 73, triggering a by-election to replace him in the seat he had held since 2001.

The by-election will run from 7am - 10pm on Thursday, July 12.

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