Lifelong Conservative and North Norfolk councillor explains why he’s quitting the party
Lifelong Conservative Party supporter and local councillor Norman Smith is leaving the party 'with a very heavy heart'.
Mr Smith, 84, who has represented the Erpingham ward on North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) since 2011, is unhappy nationally about the party's bitter divisions over the Euro referendum and locally because he believes residents' opinions are being ignored, especially on planning matters.
He cited his own village of Erpingham, as an example, where approval had been given for a further 34 homes despite local warnings that the infrastructure could not cope.
On June 23 sewage had spilled through drain covers into roads and gardens after heavy rain.
Mr Smith said NNDC used to have a policy which talked of 'empowering local communities to make their own decisions.' This had now been replaced by a corporate plan which only spoke of 'listening' to people's views.
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'I am deeply concerned that democracy is being eroded and town and parish councils will have even less influence and may eventually disappear,' said Mr Smith, who is chairman of Erpingham Parish Council.
He plans to remain on the district council as an Independent member.
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