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Vocal roadshow reaches Fakenham

PUBLISHED: 12:00 16 July 2010 | UPDATED: 20:37 01 August 2010

Adam Lazzari

Learning how to become a councillor and make an impact on the local community was the hot topic when the Vocal Local road show rolled into Fakenham yesterday.

Learning how to become a councillor and make an impact on the local community was the hot topic when the Vocal Local road show rolled into Fakenham yesterday.

People were invited to express their views on this and other issues to a video camera, set up in a customised black cab in Fakenham Market Place.

North Norfolk District Councillors Robin Combe and Nigel Ripley were on hand to answer questions.

The intention was to encourage more people to consider becoming a councillor and provide greater choice for voters at elections.

The feedback will be used to help North Norfolk District Council plan an event in Cromer on October 20 where members of the public will be invited to discuss the role in more detail with councillors.

Councillor Combe, 77, said: “We are particularly keen to get younger people interested in becoming councillors. Inevitably councils are made up of retired people who have the time to do it, but that is not a true reflection of the community and it is important to bring fresh faces in with fresh ideas.

“I have heard that at least 12 of the 48 north Norfolk district councillors will be standing down at the next election. We want to ensure we have the right calibre of people to replace them and give voters a greater choice of candidates.

“I've enjoyed being a councillor immensely but I'm too old and will have to stand down soon.”

Councillor Ripley said: “Getting people to become councillors is a problem everywhere, not just in north Norfolk. Employers aren't prepared to let people have the time away to do council business and it can be difficult to work all day and then travel to meetings. I give up 16 hours a week for council work but that can vary depending on your role. The council must find a way of accommodating people.”

The Vocal Local campaign has been set up by Norfolk County Strategic Partnership and is backed by all seven district councils, County Hall and the EDP.

It has been travelling around Norfolk this week inviting people to discuss various issues, including shops, healthy lifestyles and council priorities.

David Smith, 62, from Sculthorpe said: “It's good to know I have a councillor to talk to but I wouldn't be one myself because I don't think councillors have very much power and I don't have the time.”

Pete Haywood, 66, from South Creake said: “I spoke on the video because I'm not happy with the way the allotments are managed in South Creake.

“I would certainly consider becoming a councillor and may attend this meeting in October. It's one way of making sure things get done.”

Visit www.vocallocal.co.uk.

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