By-election due after district councillor steps down

A by-election is to be held after a Waveney District councillor resigned.

The balance of power across the district will stay with the Conservative party, but their strength could be increased if they gain Beccles South after Labour's Alan Thwaites resigned because of health reasons.

Mr Thwaites had been approved a leave of absence until November 21, but this week decided that he could not longer continue.

The move has led fellow councillors to pay tribute to his work across Beccles and Waveney.

Tod Sullivan, Labour group leader said: 'Alan has represented Beccles proudly over a number of years in various capacities, he has always been an asset to our party, our council, the town of Beccles and our district.

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'He has always conducted himself with dignity and grace and I know that he is as saddened as all of us are that he no longer feels able to give the role as much effort and commitment as he would like.'

Mr Thwaites was elected to the disctrict council in May 2011 but because of ill health he had not attended any meetings this year since January 25.

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Stephen Ardley, deputy leader of the council, said: 'On behalf of Waveney District Council, I would like to express my sadness that ill health has led to Alan's enforced departure.

'We wish him all the very best and thank him for his contribution to Waveney life since his election last May.'

Graham Elliott, fellow district councillor in Beccles and leader of the Green group, added: 'Alan has been part of the fabric of the town for many years. He will be missed on the district council but I hope is able to continue with his role on the town council.'

A by-election will now take place, with the Conservative party hoping to strengthen their hold on the council.

Prior to Mr Thwaites' resignation the opposition Labour party had 23 seats and the Conservatives also had 23, with the Tories relying on the support of chairman Peter Collecott, an independent, for control of the council. Mr Elliott represents the Green Party.

The by-election will take place on Thursday November 15, the same day as the Police and Crime Commissioner elections.

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