Norfolk County Council Elections 2021: Joy for Greens in Norwich

The Norwich count for the Norfolk County Council elections gets under way at St Andrews Hall. Pictur

The Norwich count for the Norfolk County Council elections at St Andrews Hall. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

The Conservatives strengthened their grip on Norfolk County Council, but it was the Greens who were celebrating at the Norwich count.

The Tories increased their number of seats from 52 to 58, but none of their successes were in Norwich.

But it was also a good day for the Greens, at Labour's expense.

They turned three Norwich seats (Nelson, Thorpe Hamlet and Mancroft) from red to green - the first time County Hall has had Green councillors since 2017.

Labour held University, Catton Grove, Bowthorpe, Wensum, Crome, Lakenham, Mile Cross and Town Close, but the losses to the Greens - and to the Tories in King's Lynn North and Central meant they went down from 16 seats to 11, while the Lib Dems went from nine to eight.

Matthew Reilly, back left, hears he has won his seat in the University ward at the Norwich count for

Labour's Matthew Reilly, back left, hears he has won his seat in the University ward at the Norwich count for the Norfolk County Council elections. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Lib Dem leader Steffan Aquarone retained his Melton Constable seat, but stepped down as leader, saying he did not agree with his party's stance of backing the Norwich Northern Distributor Road Western Link.

Andrew Proctor, leader of Norfolk County Council. Pic: Norfolk County Council.

Andrew Proctor, leader of Norfolk County Council. Pic: Norfolk County Council. - Credit: Norfolk County Council

Andrew Proctor, Conservative leader of Norfolk County Council, said he was delighted with the results.

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He said: "We made some good gains and squeezed the votes elsewhere. It was really tight in Aylsham, where we came really close to taking it from the Lib Dems.

"Fair play to everyone of our candidates. Everyone did a tremendous job. I am very proud of all the Conservatives."

Steve Morphew, leader of the Labour group at Norfolk County Council. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Labour group leader Steve Morphew. - Credit: Denise Bradley

Steve Morphew, leader of the Labour group, said: "I think we are pretty disappointed with the way it went across the county.

"I make no excuses - that is democracy and that's what the judgement of people has been.

"But what we have seen is that those candidates who have done best are those most rooted in their communities."

Green Party candidate Ben Price

Ben Price, newly elected Green county councillor for Thorpe Hamlet. - Credit: Green Party

Green Ben Price, who won Thorpe Hamlet from Labour, said having three Greens back at County Hall was important.

He said: "I feel we have got the urgency and the determination to take forward our desire to improve the climate credentials of the council and to deliver change to help stave off the climate emergency."

The Lib Dems held Costessey, with Sharon Blundell keeping the seat which had long been held by Tim East.

South Norfolk Council member Sharon Blundell.

Sharon Blundell held Costessey for the Lib Dems. - Credit: COSTESSEY TOWN COUNCIL

The 84th Norfolk seat - Sewell - is yet to have its election. That was postponed following the death of Conservative candidate Eve Collishaw.

Else where in the county, three independents triumphed, including former Lib Dem group leader Ed Maxfield, who retained his Mundesely seat and Alexandra Kemp, who held her Clenchwarton and King's Lynn South division.

Independent Jim Moriarty tasted victory in Gayton and Nar Valley, taking the seat from the Conservatives.

In Aylsham, there were 21 votes separating Lib Dem Steve Riley from his Conservative opponent Hal Turkmen, but Mr Riley held the seat.

He said: "It's been a hard campaign for eight weeks. I'm looking forward to working hard for the community."

In West Norfolk, former borough council leader Nick Daubney returns to politics.

Mr Daubney won Freebridge Lynn, seeing off Green and Labour candidates by a margin of more than 1,000 votes.

He said: "I think when lockdown started, so many of the things I was involved in were not so much happening, so I thought: 'I will have a another go."

Fellow Conservative Lesley Bambridge took King's Lynn North and Central from Labour.

In Great Yarmouth, the Tories held on to their seats across the borough, but also gained Yarmouth North and Central.

Graham Carpenter took the seat, which had been held by Mick Castle (Independent), who announced his retirement at the end of last year.

Labour's Colleen Walker and Mike Smith-Clare held Magdalen and Yarmouth Nelson and South Town.

In South Norfolk, the Conservatives held all of their seats and took the West Depwade seat from Bev Spratt.

Mr Spratt, who had held it for the Tories since 2005, but was not selected to defend it, so had become an independent. He lost out to Barry Duffin.