Cromer hustings sees all five parliamentary candidates answer questions on coast, green energy and affordable homes

General Election 2015 Hustings at Cromer Parish church with local candidates Michael Baker (UKIP), D

General Election 2015 Hustings at Cromer Parish church with local candidates Michael Baker (UKIP), Denise Burke (Labour), Mick Macartney-Filgate (Green), Ann Steward (Conservative) and Norman Lamb (Lib Dem).Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

Coastal erosion, wind turbines and affordable homes were among the issues dividing candidates in a North Norfolk hustings in Cromer.

General Election 2015 Hustings at Cromer Parish church with local candidates Michael Baker (UKIP), D

General Election 2015 Hustings at Cromer Parish church with local candidates Michael Baker (UKIP), Denise Burke (Labour), Mick Macartney-Filgate (Green), Ann Steward (Conservative) and Norman Lamb (Lib Dem).Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

The controlled debate, in the town's parish church, saw the constituency's five aspiring MPs answer pre-selected questions.

Coastal erosion, wind turbines and affordable homes were among the issues dividing candidates in a north Norfolk hustings in Cromer.

The controlled debate, in the town's parish church, saw the constituency's five aspiring MPs answer pre-selected questions on Tuesday.

Topics focused on both national and local concerns, including what candidates would do to fight for coastal defences and the impact of national spending cuts.


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Norman Lamb (Lib Dem) suggested a local referendum to decide on a £10 contribution towards a community fund for coastal protection.

Michael Baker (UKIP) said £50bn of HS2 money should be spent on coastal defences, and added that wind turbines should be scrapped and the government should build more nuclear power stations.

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Denise Burke (Labour) said: 'We have to save our coastline. We have 47 miles of it and the majority of it is vulnerable to the sea.'

Ann Steward (Conservative) said she wanted to see more funding come to north Norfolk, and Mike Macartney-Filgate (Green) said the parties should come together to pledge action to protect the coast.

The candidates were also asked about social housing in north Norfolk.

Mrs Burke said there was a real shortage of less expensive homes and a huge number of second home owners. She said: 'We need to build affordable homes.' She added one and two bedroom properties in north Norfolk were impossible to find, and said more brown-field sites needed to be released.

Mr Lamb said he wanted to introduce a rent-to-buy scheme, which would enable renters to build up a share in a property without having to save up for a deposit.

But he said he was concerned about the Conservative plan, announced in its Tuesday manifesto, to extend the right-to-buy to housing association properties.

He added: 'If you are in the private sector you have no such right. If you happen to be a housing association tenant you have that right and potentially a £70,000 windfall.

'If it right to give it to one group of people then to deny it to another group?'

Mrs Steward said the new policy was about unlocking ways to build more affordable homes. She added: 'We will be helping young people with deposits, if you build up £12,000 we will top it up by £3,000.'

When asked about spending cuts, Mr Macartney-Filgate said the Green Party was the only anti-austerity party. He added that people were told spending cuts were a natural consequence of the current economic system He said: 'The need for spending cuts has to be looked at carefully.' He added transport was a problem for north Norfolk.

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