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City councillor accused of being 'Trump-like' in row over UEA expansion

PUBLISHED: 15:21 17 July 2019 | UPDATED: 16:14 17 July 2019

Mike Stonard, Norwich City Council's cabinet member for sustainable growth, has been accused of being 'Trump-like', Inset: Donald Trump. Picture: Archant/Associated Press

Mike Stonard, Norwich City Council's cabinet member for sustainable growth, has been accused of being 'Trump-like', Inset: Donald Trump. Picture: Archant/Associated Press

Archant

A debate over the future growth of the University of East Anglia spiralled into a bitter row between opposing councillors - including an accusation of being "Trump-like".

Lesley Graham, Green councillor for Thorpe Hamlet. Pic: Green Party.Lesley Graham, Green councillor for Thorpe Hamlet. Pic: Green Party.

As members of Norwich City Council's sustainable development panel discussed visions for the university in years to come, as it continues to grow, tempers flared over potential use of green space for building.

With the university aiming to expand to accommodate 22,000 students by 2036 - a 22pc increase - it has been acknowledged that new buildings will be needed to absorb this, both in terms of teaching and accommodation space.

However, Green Party councillors Denise Carlo and Lesley Grahame were angered by the potential of these being built on green space near the university's broad.

The land is one of four sites around the university campus earmarked for possible development in a development strategy for the UEA.

Denise Carlo, Green city councillor. Picture: Denise BradleyDenise Carlo, Green city councillor. Picture: Denise Bradley

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Mrs Carlo said: "We all recognise the economic importance of the UEA but it is crucial its growth does not come at the cost of an integral part of the Yare Valley. I am very concerned by this potential loss of green land."

She added that losing green land would harm the biodiversity of the county and exacerbate the impact of climate change.

Mike Stonard, Labour chairman of the committee, said: "It would be a very retrograde move for the Green party to not support the university - which is a vitally important part of the local economy.

"The UEA is worth £1.04bn to the UK economy, 45pc of which comes to Norwich, is worth around £500m to the local economy and creates more than 9,800 jobs. While its expansion needs to be done in a sensitive and appropriate way, it is something we need to support and encourage."

Mrs Graham, Green councillor for Thorpe Hamlet, then accused Mr Stonard of being "Trump-like" in his response - comparing the cabinet member to United States president Donald Trump.

She said: "It is an idiotic suggestion that we have to choose between supporting the UEA and wanting to protect our environment - we do not need this Trump-like 'with us or against us' attitude."

Following the meeting, Mr Stonard said the comparison was "a bit over the top".

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