Long-standing councillor to retire

Paul Morse. Photo: Jerry Daws

Paul Morse. Photo: Jerry Daws - Credit: ©Archant Photographic 2010

A long standing councillor who has helped lead the way in campaigns for better flood protections and youth services has announced he is to retire after becoming disillusioned with local politics.

Paul Morse, has said that after eight years on Norfolk County Council looking after the North Walsham east ward, he has decided not to seek re-election on May 2.

In his online blog Mr Morse, who has lived in North Walsham for almost 20 years and has been a county councillor since 2005, states: 'I shall miss being a councillor but I know it is the right decision for me and my family.'

He says the decision has come after a 'summer of reflection' and is because of a number of factors including ill health in his family which has made him reassess his priorities.

Mr Morse, who was group leader of the Liberal Democrats from 2007-2012 adds in his blog: 'The sidelining of Local Government, particularly in respect of education, is a huge issue for me and I think there are too many tiers. The antics of a minority of councillors hasn't helped either. I've observed - and been on the receiving end - of some nasty behaviour in local politics and I'll be glad to get away from it.

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'I am also increasingly struggling with our continuing participation in the Coalition Government.'

Local issues he has been involved in include flooding and developing youth provision including setting up a youth forum in North Walsham, he has also acted as chair and vice-chair of the county council's cabinet scrutiny committee, and spokesman for human resources, finance, property and corporate affairs.

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Speaking about his time as a councillor he states: 'I have been really humbled by the challenges people face in their everyday lives. The highlights for me are always to do with having helped people.'

He lists some of his proudest achievements as helping get Brick Kiln Road gritted in North Walsham, the federation of the Manor Road infant and junior schools in North Walsham and helping to put measures in place to reduce the flooding risk in the town.

Before becoming a councillor, Mr Morse worked in local government in the careers service, holding posts in Oxfordshire, Wiltshire and Berkshire before running the service in Norfolk where he managed its transition to a private company. Since then he has worked in management training, mentoring and business advice.

He said he hopes to be able to devote more time to his family and to focus on his role as a governor at North Walsham High School and pursue his other interests which include walking.

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