Former leader of Norfolk County Council announces he will not stand for election again
Archant © 2013
A former leader of Norfolk County Council has announced he will not be seeking re-election to the authority, after he has completed 16 years as a councillor.
George Nobbs, who has been Labour councillor for Crome ward since May 2005 and was County Hall leader for three years from 2013 until 2016, has said he will not stand in next year’s county council elections.
He said: “When I first became a councillor I would never have dreamt I would still be doing it 16 years later.
“My greatest regret will be not being there to serve the people of Crome any more. It is the best constituency you could wish for and I have enjoyed every minute of helping them.
“But I don’t want to be one of those councillors who just hangs around for ever and ever. It is time to give somebody else the chance.”
Mr Nobbs credited former Lord Mayors David Bradford and the late Jenny Lay for encouraging him to stand in the first place, igniting a political career which led him to becoming leader of the county council.
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As a backbencher, he chaired working parties on libraries and museums and was chair of the scrutiny committee. In 2009, after Labour lost 19 seats, he led a three-strong Labour group, with his ‘wonderful’ deputy Colleen Walker.
But he became council leader in 2013, when an unusual alliance of Labour, UKIP and the Liberal Democrats, with some support by the Greens, took control of County Hall from the Conservatives.
Mr Nobbs said: “It showed the parties can work together and I think the public actually likes to see parties working together.
“The council has changed tremendously over the years. When I first became a councillor, there was much more give and take. You could make a suggestion and the opposition might say it was a good idea, but it’s not like that now.”
Mr Nobbs said he was proud the alliance had got the Northern Distributor Road started and that he had set up shared services with Suffolk County Council.
He said he regretted ‘sabotage’ had prevented a meaningful devolution deal being possible and that the council had to take a decision to scrap an incinerator at a cost of £35m, due to the contract agreed by his predecessors.
But he said one of his proudest moments as a councillor was when he helped to prevent Norfolk’s museums being taken over by a trust.
He said: “On the whole, I’ve enjoyed every minute. Even the bad times were good.”