Voters set to decide on political map of West Norfolk

Great Yarmouth Borough Local Elections and Referendum; May 2011; Polling station at Stokesby Communi

Great Yarmouth Borough Local Elections and Referendum; May 2011; Polling station at Stokesby Community Centre; Ballot Box; Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2011

With the incinerator inquiry still smouldering on, the burner is likely to dominate doorstep debate.

It's already cost the county council its leader - not to mention causing one of the bitterest rows the Conservatives have ever seen in Norfolk. Now the scores will soon be on the doors regarding what it could cost them at the ballot boxes.

Behind the scenes in the west of the county, there are moves in Tory circles to have candidates declare not only their opposition, but also to pledge to disobey the party whip over the issue if elected.

Quite what they'll achieve if the incinerator does get the go-ahead is debateable. But if Eric Pickles agrees with the thousands who voted against it in a West Norfolk council poll, things could start to get interesting, as the planning process begins all over as support for alternatives builds among other Norfolk councils.

Either way, the forthcoming election looks almost certain to inject some fresh blood into County Hall from West Norfolk. In seven of the 14 wards being contested, the sitting candidate either isn't standing, or is trying to get elected in another ward and we could well see an upset or two. Whether this will come from UKIP - which is fielding candidates in 10 out of 14 wards - or one or two of the colourful independents who have thrown their hats in the ring, remains to be seen.

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Most intetresting battlegrounds look likely to be North Coast, where former Labour stalwart Richard Bird has quit the party and is standing as an independent in a four-horse face including UKIP's John Crane, Labour's Emelia Rust and Conservative Garry Sandell.

Further inland, Brian Long is leaving King's Lynn North to stand in Fincham, against UKIP's Ashley Collins, the Lib Dems' Kate Sayer and Labour's Jonathan Toye.

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And were anti-incinerator candidate Mike Knights to get elected in Gayton and Nar Valley, by seeing off Baljinder Anota (no party given), UKIP's Richard Coke, the Conservatives' Paul Foster, Lib Dems' Elaine Oliver (LD) and Labour's Peter Wilkinson; the Conservatives can only look forward to another thorn in their side. Assuming, or course, that they still rule the roost.

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