Housing and NDR at the heart of Broadland’s county council election issues

A voter leaving the polling station at Fakenham Community Centre. Picture: Ian Burt.

A voter leaving the polling station at Fakenham Community Centre. Picture: Ian Burt. - Credit: IAN BURT

The possible development of up to 10,000 homes to the north-east of Norwich has dominated the business of Broadland District Council.

Along with Norfolk County Council's proposed £141.5m Norwich northern distributor road (NDR), which runs entirely through Broadland, the area could be subject to rapid growth in the coming years.

And while the planned thousands of houses will not pop-up overnight, decisions influencing roads and services in the area could emerge sooner rather than later.

RAF Coltishall, purchased by the county council for £4m, also borders the district.

Furthermore, nine of the current 12 county councillors have also been elected to serve at Broadland District Council.

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After the 2009 county council elections, the Tories held 11 of the 13 seats in the area with the Liberal Democrats scooping up the remaining two.

There is also a vacancy in Wroxham following the departure of former Conservative cabinet member James Carswell, who has also left his district councillor role.

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Broadland at County Hall has been a Tory heartland. The district includes Foulsham, Aylsham, plus Norwich fringe towns and villages.

But the result at Wroxham has the biggest question mark over it.

Mr Carswell stormed to victory in 2009 with 1,788 votes – a 56.46pc share of ballots cast – with the Greens second after polling 603 votes.

Conservative Tom Garrod has left Yarmouth North and Central to stand in Wroxham, which appears to be a safer seat for the party.

But with the Greens not putting forward a nomination, it is left to Richard Amies of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), Independent Stephen Heard, Labour's Malcolm Kemp and the Lib Dems' Michael Kitching to lead the challenge.

Mr Heard's work as chairman of the Stop Norwich Urbanisation (Snub) group, which successfully challenged plans for housing growth in Broadland at the High Court, could be a factor in how the vote is shared.

Elsewhere, Conservative Tony Williams is leaving Hevingham and Spixworth. Lib Dem district councillor for Spixworth Dan Roper finished second in 2009, 123 votes short of Mr Williams, and has been nominated again.

The Tories have put forward Shaun Vincent, a cabinet member at Broadland, while Sandra Smyth is nominated for UKIP and Tony Hemmingway for Labour.

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