North Norfolk county council seats set to be more than a two-horse race

Rhodri Oliver

Rhodri Oliver - Credit: Archant

Elections in north Norfolk have been a two-horse race between the Conservative blues and Liberal Democrat oranges in recent years.

Stepping down, Paul Morse

Stepping down, Paul Morse - Credit: ©Archant Photographic 2010

But a resurgent local Labour party, growing UKIP presence and flurry of recent Green issues such as windfarms look set to make May's poll much more multi-coloured.

And with the major parties using the election to gear up to the next Parliamentary contest, the outcome will be a good barometer on how nervously Norman Lamb should be looking over his shoulder at the chasing pack.

Conservatives will have been buoyed by grabbing power from the Lib Dems at the last district council elections.

Local party deputy chairman Rhodri Oliver said voters were interested in local issues and the party was pledging to freeze council tax, and look into residents' parking. He conceded some seats could be three-way fights with Labour being 'very active.'

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The Lib Dems were boosted by a landslide district byelection win which grabbed a Cromer seat back off the Tories.

Campaign manager Ed Maxfield said concerns about the party's national coalition with the Tories were not as bad as some might think, and support on the doorstep was 'very solid' even in the face of some hard Labour campaigning in places like North Walsham.

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Former county council Lib Dem leader Paul Morse is stepping down from his North Walsham east seat, where former EDP reporter Ed Foss is seeking to retain it for the party.

Labour has been running a series of high profile campaigns on local issues - from ambulance response times to a shoppers bonus card in Walsham - which it hopes to turn into votes and seats.

Chairman Denise Burke said: 'We believe we are going to get some seats. People are disheartened with the other parties.'

UKIP is contesting all local seats but probably has highest hopes at Holt where prominent local businessman Michael Baker is already a district councillor and the party's parliamentary hopeful.

'We are getting positive responses from former supporters of all three parties but mainly Conseratives, and we want to make sure they can vote for a candidate in every seat.'

The Greens are also on every local voting slip, and again see Holt as their best chance. Spokesman Peter Crouch said: 'It would be good for North Norfolk to have a Green Councillor to join the third largest group of six county councillors' adding that the controlling county hall Tories had been guilty of 'many abuses and excesses.'

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