Yarmouth Labour Party members accuse Conservatives of plotting a ‘shotgun marriage’

View from the top of Havenbridge House.Town Hall.October 2015.Picture: James Bass

View from the top of Havenbridge House.Town Hall.October 2015.Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2015

A 'shotgun marriage' as well as changes in the make up of the Great Yarmouth parliamentary constituency are being plotted by local Conservatives claims a group of Labour Party members.

A leaflet delivered to people living in North Yarmouth, by county councillor Mick Castle, borough councillor Paula Waters-Bunn and borough election candidate Christina Horne states: 'A whole swathe of North Norfolk between Potter Heigham and Stalham is to be put into the Great Yarmouth Constituency to make it harder for Labour to win in 2020 – part of David Cameron's plan to reduce the number of MPs from 650 to 600 to shore up the Tories chances of staying in power.'

Regarding the shared services, the trio said closer collaboration between North Norfolk District Council and Yarmouth Borough Council would 'seriously affect the quality of services in Yarmouth and would cost the jobs of many Yarmouth-based local government workers.'

They add: 'Great Yarmouth is a town that ran all its own services until 1974 and which still retains a strong sense of its own history and independence.

'It has begun the long road back to prosperity thanks to over a decade of Labour Government investment in new infrastructure and urban regeneration but it still suffers the blight of higher than average unemployment, poor health and lack of affordable rented housing.

'Labour does not oppose collaboration with other councils but we are not prepared to compromise on Yarmouth people's right to determine how they are governed. A part-time chief executive based 40 miles away in Cromer is not the best way forward!'

Cllr Castle said: 'In my opinion shared services and/or council mergers are more viable where the parties concerned share similar attributes, have similar priorities, good geographic links etc.

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'For Yarmouth the obvious choice of partners have always been Norwich and/or Lowestoft - urban communities, substantial stocks of council housing, make priority of economic development, direct road links etc.

'The Tories in Yarmouth have always preferred links with rural locations like North Norfolk, South Norfolk, Breckland and South Holland - because of political affinities rather than the above considerations.'

He added: ' That's very much my assessment of what is being planned. I spent 11 years as a full-time Labour organiser.

'Of course in the last Parliament the Tories were going to force the expansion of the Yarmouth Constituency to bring in that area between Potter Heigham and Stalham to make it harder for Labour to win - then fell out with the Lib-Dems over alternative voting and had to pull it.'