Rallying call to Norfolk at launch of new Independents party

A rallying call has gone out to the people of Norfolk to help make politics in the county more open and democratic and accountable to the community.

The inaugural meeting of Ketts Independents Party was held at the Fairland United Reformed Church in Wymondham on Saturday, during which Andy Gardiner, who has helped set up the party, outlined his plan to set up 'Chapters' in towns and villages across Norfolk made up of independent party members who would engage with the community and ensure the voices of residents were heard at council level.

The Chapter would also be responsible for selecting candidates to stand at council elections and organising their election campaigns, with the aim being to end party politics on authorities such as Norfolk County Council and district and parish councils, which Mr Gardiner said had led to decisions being taken without first consulting the public.

A number of speakers addressed the audience of over 70 people about the need for more democratic councils, including Mr Gardiner himself, Wymondham town councillor Alison Taylor, Derek Ward, a member of Wymondham Asks Why action group and Wymondham College pupil Aaron Symonds.

Teenager Aaron said he became interested in politics in Wymondham because of the 'disregard' the town council had shown to the people of the town during the Kings Head Meadow affair when the council planned to sell the recreation area in the town for a new Asda development.

He said he wanted the town council to listen to youngsters in the town and follow the example of Wymondham High school where staff listened to what the school council had to say even though the councillors did not always get what they wanted.

'I would like to see more events outside of school for my age group and the development of a better and more democratic Wymondham,' Aaron said.

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Mr Gardiner said he was not just concerned about the meadow affair, but other matters at a county and district level which had seemingly been conducted without full public consultation, including the King's Lynn waste incinerator, the sale of the former RAF Coltishall site and plans for travellers sites at Wymondham and Spooner Row.

He said independents needed to form themselves into a party otherwise members of the mainstream parties would simply stand instead as independents.

He added: 'We have taken the trouble to come here today because we want change and know that what is happening right now is not right. Lets leave with the belief that we can rebuild community spirit and a belief that we can make Norfolk an attractive place to live with a community spirit.'

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