UKIP could change district’s landscape

Rural Life - Aylsham.PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Rural Life - Aylsham.PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

With UKIP putting forward a record number of candidates in Broadland this year, the district has all to play for. All 47 seats at the Conservative-controlled authority are for the taking on May 7.

Four years ago UKIP had just eight candidates in seven wards, but this time around the landscape could end up looking very different as the party is fielding 25 candidates in 24 of the 27 wards. One is Paul Green, sitting councillor for Blofield with South Walsham, who defected from the Conservatives to UKIP over EU policies, immigration and planning policies.

Independent George Debbage, who lost his seat there in 2011, is looking to win it back.

Council leader Andrew Proctor will be defending Brundall. He was first elected in 1996 and is one of a full slate of Conservative candidates.

Acle's Conservative candidate Lana Hempsall won the seat in 2011 on the toss of a coin after she tied with independent Nigel Law on 407 votes.

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The Liberal Democrats, who have nine Broadland councillors, have 41 candidates – at least one in every ward, except Acle.

Labour, for whom Bill Couzens in Sprowston Central is their sole Broadland councillor, have 29 candidates in 18 wards, while the Greens have three candidates in three wards.

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Party Viewpoint

The Conservatives' Andrew Proctor, Broadland District Council leader.

Our plan for the future is to grow and strong and vibrant district with more jobs, homes and opportunities for all. But that will never come at the expense of our heritage and history that makes Broadland a great place to live and work. To make this happen, our pledges to Broadland residents are:

-Keep our costs low to ensure that Broadland remains an efficient council delivering high-quality services for all at the lowest-possible cost. -Develop a strong local economy to help rebuild a strong national economy by supporting all Broadland's businesses, creating real jobs and attracting investment.

-Expand our 'Buy Local' campaign to keep the local pound in the local economy.

-Support young people with training opportunities and apprenticeships so they can learn and earn.

-Push hard to get road and rail improvements, including the northern distributor road and dualling the A47.

-Invest in helping to bring better and faster broadband to everyone

-Increase recycling rates and expand our successful food waste collection so that Broadland residents remain the highest recyclers in Norfolk.

-Continue to work with partners to drive down crime and anti-social behaviour.

-Provide homes for local people, with local facilities to support them, in the right places, so that our residents, their children and their grandchildren can stay in Broadland.

-Work with communities to develop neighbourhood plans so local people can determine how their area grows in the future.

Andrew Boswell, Broadland's Green Party spokesman.

We will:

-Work to introduce a living wage across Norfolk so that everyone can earn enough to live on.

-Work to improve recycling rates across the district.

-Build new council housingto the highest energy standards so it is warm and cheap to run.

-Campaign for better public transport, linking up local communities across the region.

-Promote re-use networks to help reduce waste going to landfill and fly-tipping.

-Put local people at the heart of decision making giving people a say over key issues.

-Promote community renewable energy projects.

-Campaign to keep schools accountable and bring them back under local authority control.

-Campaign for better cycling facilities and cycle lanes across south Norfolk.

-Ensure any new housing is affordable, environmentally sustainable and sensitive to the local area.

-Green councillors would hold regular surgeries for people to talk with their local representative.

Bill Couzens, Bill Couzens, Labour Leader in Broadland.

We will:

-Make Broadland District Council a Living Wage employer.

-Require that companies bidding for a contract with the Council guarantee to pay the living wage.

-Ensure that no individual working for the council or its contractors is employed on the basis of an exploitative zero-hours contract.

-Work with contractors to increase the number of available apprenticeships for young people.

-Work to make Broadland a recognised centre for green jobs.

-Work to develop Broadland Business Park and other areas to deliver job and wealth creating businesses.

-Increase the number of homes to be built and let at a social rent.

-Prioritise the building of affordable family homes and ensure that private developers deliver on their commitments.

-Work with Parish councils to preserve existing green spaces and particularly woodland from development.

-Develop the Switch and Save scheme to enable more households to save money on their yearly energy bills.

-Protect low income residents from having to pay council tax as a result of the coalition's cuts in council tax benefit.

-Work with voluntary sector organisations, including credit unions, to ensure residents have free debt and money advice and are aware of the dangers of using unlicensed loan providers, loan sharks or companies charging high interest rates.

-Support the retention of PCSOs across Broadland in order to maintain the existing low crime rate.

Dan Roper, leader of the Liberal Democrat Group.

There is no coalition in Broadland, the Liberal Democrats have been the only effective opposition to the Conservatives for many years. The only way to end Tory rule in Broadland is by voting for Liberal Democrat councillors. Our priorities include:

-Comprehensive review of the planning department to optimise performance and decision making. To promote better planning practice in design of new developments and communities.

-Expand the number of new affordable homes subject to local lettings policies – whereby these homes are offered first to applicants with links to the village/town where they are built.

-With new developments ensure that infrastructure is provided at an early stage and not just left until all the houses have been built.

-Open up the council. More evening meetings, more transparent decision making, make meetings more accessible to the public.

-Take steps to increase recycling and promote a low-carbon council.

-Promote further development of an early-help hub.

-Ringfence spending on economic development. Work to increase support for new business start-ups.

-Take steps to improve planning enforcement.

-Maintain payments to parish and town councils of New Homes Bonus money to support local facilities.

-Promote Broadland as a 'dementia-friendly' council.

Paul Green, spokesman for UKIP in Broadland.

UKIP believes a balanced budget based on common sense and fairness is a must for a council to be successful. As part of this commonsense drive, unnecessary bureaucracy must be stamped out decisively. UKIP councillors will:

-Put Broadland ahead of central party mantras, and listen instead to the wishes of Broadland people.

-Support effort to improve home care for the elderly and infirm.

-Pursue zero-tolerance policies against petty and serious crime.

-Preserve green spaces, restricting new developments where possible, to brownfield and infill sites.

-Prioritise affordable housing.

-Support schemes and new technologies that improve broadband coverage.

-Seek to incentivise the creation of additional apprenticeships for our young people.

-Seek to abolish the secretive and undemocratic system of cabinet governance, as UKIP did at County Hall.

-Protect the Broads from any move to put conservation above recreation as with other 'National Park' family members.

-Most importantly, UKIP councillors will listen to electors' views before making decisions.'

-UKIP will support 'local' business and ensure tenders from local government are awarded to local companies where those skills exist.

-UKIP will encourage closer links between the council, the Broads Authority and the Environment Agency to ensure tourism longevity.

-UKIP will engage parish councils in a more constructive way encouraging participation and joint decision making at a local level.

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