North Norfolk district councillor retires after more than two decades in local government

North Norfolk district councillor Philip High, who has retired after 22 years in local government. P

North Norfolk district councillor Philip High, who has retired after 22 years in local government. Picture: Karen Bethell - Credit: Archant

A north Norfolk district councillor is stepping down, after devoting 22 years to tackling local issues ranging from car parking to affordable housing.

Philip High, 73, decided to stand for election as a town councillor in his home town of Holt after attending a meeting in 1995.

'I was just fascinated with how it all worked and, as I'd always been interested in local matters, I put my name forward,' he said.

The former postman, who was one of the first students to attend Sheringham Secondary Modern School when it was built in 1957, went on to become vice-chairman of the council, eventually being elected chairman.

After failing to be elected to the district council as an independent in 2003, he was asked by north Norfolk MP Norman Lamb to stand as a Liberal Democrat candidate in 2006 and won the seat.

He retired from Holt Town Council in 2008, throwing himself wholeheartedly into his role as a district councillor.

As well as sitting on committees ranging from planning to licensing, he has, over the years, visited dozens of people in their own homes, helping out with benefits and debt problems and helping solve disputes between neighbours.

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He has also supported local groups including Holt Area Caring and the town community centre, is president of elderly people's social group Holt Friday Club and is a trustee of local beauty spot Holt Lowes.

'I think, to me, the most important part of being a district councillor is helping people,' he said. 'There is a lot more deprivation in Holt than people realise; a lot of people are in debt and I'd like to think I've done my best to solve a few of those problems.'

Keen to spend more visiting his son and grandchildren, who live in America, Mr High, made the difficult decision to retire a few months ago and attended his final council meeting this week.

'You can't do the job properly if you're not here and I think my wife was getting a bit fed up of having to book holidays around council meetings, so It really is that old cliche of wanting to spend more time with the family,' Mr High said.

He added. 'I've absolutely loved it and I think I have achieved what I set out to do, but although I will miss the public and my colleagues, my grandchildren are growing up fast and the time is right to stop.'