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5 big issues that could swing the vote in Broadland

PUBLISHED: 11:11 11 December 2019 | UPDATED: 11:11 11 December 2019

What are the key issues for Broadland's voters? Pictured is RSPB Strumpshaw Fen nature reserve near Brundall.
Picture: James Bass

What are the key issues for Broadland's voters? Pictured is RSPB Strumpshaw Fen nature reserve near Brundall. Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk © 2016

Newly created in 2010, Broadland has been a Conservative safe seat since its formation.

Stretching from the villages surrounding Fakenham, encompassing the north Norfolk towns of Reepham and Aylsham, and extending to Acle, towards Great Yarmouth, the constituency sits north of Norwich and includes some of the city's suburbs and the villages of Blofield and Brundall.

Similar to the layout of the old Mid Norfolk seat, Broadland has been held by Keith Simpson for almost a decade.

The MP and former military historian also previously held the former seat, where he became well-known for campaigning over fatalities on the county's roads.

After Mr Simpson announced he would not be standing for re-election ahead of the December 12 election, the Conservative candidacy was initially won by former BBC Radio Norfolk presenter Nick Conrad.

But Mr Conrad stepped down just 24 hours after being selected, following an intense backlash over comments he made during a 2014 radio conversation about the rape conviction of a former Norwich City footballer Ched Evans - who was later cleared at a retrial.

Mr Conrad said: "I think women need to be more aware of a man's sexual desire.

"Women also have to understand that when a man's given certain signals he'll wish to act upon them and if you don't wish to give out the wrong signals it's best, probably, to keep your knickers on and not get into bed with him."

He later apologised for the remarks.

He has been replaced by Jerome Mayhew, founder of adventure company Go Ape, who is standing against Labour candidate Jess Barnard, Liberal Democrat Ben Goodwin, the Green Party's Andrew Boswell, and Simon Rous, from the Universal Good Party.

At the 2017 election, Mr Simpson won 57.9pc of the Broadland vote, with 32,406 votes and a majority of 15,816.

What are the big issues in Broadland?

- Tourism - With the famous Norfolk Broads located in the constituency, encouraging tourists and visitors to come to the area will be a key priority for whoever is elected.

The prevalence of seasonal work may also be an issue, as residents will be keen to ensure there are jobs year round.

- Broadband - Being a predominantly rural constituency, voters in Broadland will be keen to reap the benefits of newer, faster broadband connectivity.

Could Labour's pledge to deliver this - for free - garner them support?

- Roads - The county council set to link the new Northern Distributor Road (NDR), now known as the Broadland Northway, with the A47 via the Wensum Valley.

And the controversial Norwich Western Link plans, which are opposed by environmental campaigners, are likely to be a central issue for Broadland's MP.

- Industry - Calls to fully dual the A47 will be expected to be backed by any MP elected in Norfolk, but the scheme is a key issue in Broadland, where it's hoped the move could spark growth for businesses and industries including agriculture and food processing.

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- Housing - Broadland is one of the many areas in Norfolk where affordable housing is an issue.

Workers can expect to pay an average of nine times their annual salary to afford a home in the district, which is towards the higher end of the figures for Norfolk.

Who is standing in Broadland?

Jerome Mayhew (Conservative Party)

Jess Barnard (Labour)

Ben Goodwin (Liberal Democrat)

Andrew Boswell (Green Party)

Simon Rous (Universal Good Party)

And what happened in 2017?

Keith Simpson (Cons) - 32,406, held seat for the Tories

Iain Simpson (Lab) - 16,590

Steve Riley (Lib Dem) - 4,449

David Moreland (UKIP) - 1,594

Andrew Boswell (Green) - 932

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