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Longstanding Yarmouth councillor to retire after more than 30 years

PUBLISHED: 14:47 10 November 2020 | UPDATED: 14:47 10 November 2020

Norfolk county councillor and deputy Independent group leader Mick Castle is set to retire next year after over three decades in local government. Picture: James Bass

Norfolk county councillor and deputy Independent group leader Mick Castle is set to retire next year after over three decades in local government. Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2011

A Norfolk county councillor and deputy group leader is set to retire next year after over three decades in local government.

Mick Castle and Sandra Squire of the Norfolk County Council Independent Group
Picture supplied by Sandra SquireMick Castle and Sandra Squire of the Norfolk County Council Independent Group Picture supplied by Sandra Squire

Mick Castle, county councillor for Yarmouth North and Central, and deputy leader of county hall’s independent group, will step down as a councillor as of the next set of council elections in May 2021.

Mr Castle, who was first elected in 1988 following a by-election in the former Yarmouth Southtown and Cobholm Division, formed the independent group alongside the West Norfolk ex-Conservative member Sandra Squire in 2018 after leaving the Labour Party.

He initially served as the leader of the group, which was formed as an alliance to tackle education issues.

Mr Castle said: “I’ve had a good time as a local councillor and I think there comes a time where you should stand aside and let someone younger take over.

Ed Maxfield, Independent county councillor, will take over as deputy leader. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYEd Maxfield, Independent county councillor, will take over as deputy leader. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

READ MORE: Former Labour and Tory members link up to form political group at county level

“Sandra and I came from different strands of politics but we were able to unite and work together - the Independent group has been an important part of my council career and I’ve got the utmost respect for my colleagues.

“It was difficult for me to leave the Labour Party over the issue of the schools merger in Yarmouth.

“I would have been a bit of a lost soul if I hadn’t been able to forge a new alliance.”

Independent Norfolk county councillor Sandra Squire. Pic: Norfolk Independent Group.Independent Norfolk county councillor Sandra Squire. Pic: Norfolk Independent Group.

And on the issue of the gender attainment - which sees boys achieve worse educational results than girls - he added: “There’s about 300,000 more women than men in higher education. If this were to carry on it would be a hard time for men in the future.”

READ MORE: Long standing Great Yarmouth Labour member Mick Castle leaves party and council group

And group leader Sandra Squire added: “Mick’s contribution to local government will be missed when he steps down and I wish him a long and happy retirement.

“It has been an honour and a pleasure working alongside him.

“He has taught me a lot since we formed the Independent group together almost three years ago, his experience, advice and support have been invaluable.”

READ MORE: ‘More concerned with Twitter than Trunch’ - former Lib Dem leader quits party

Mr Castle was Norfolk’s first cabinet member for economic development and chairman of the Norwich airport company from 1996-98 and the Great Yarmouth port authority from 1999-2004.

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In 2013, he was cabinet member for schools as part of the cross-party rainbow alliance, and has since sat on the flood defence committee and A47 Alliance.

He will step down as deputy group leader from Wednesday, November 11, with Ed Maxfield, county councillor for Mundesley taking over in that role.

READ MORE: ‘We’re in danger of failing generation of boys’ - council urged to fulfill pledge to close school gender gap


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