Council elections 2021: Independents eye more County Hall seats
- Credit: Norfolk Independent Group
Local politics should not be dominated by large political parties, according to independent councillors hoping to swell their numbers at Norfolk County Council.
All 84 seats at County Hall are up for grabs when the county goes to the polls on May 6.
And the three-strong Independent Group at the county council, formed in 2017, hopes voters will elect more councillors not tied to political parties.
They say at least 14 independent councillors are intending to stand in the election - and the group hope some will emerge victorious.
Sandra Squire, who leads the Independent group, said: "These are the candidates we are aware of.
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"Anyone can stand as an independent candidate, so there could well be candidates out there who haven’t got in touch, that we don’t know about yet.
"It’s been wonderful to see so many people put themselves forward to represent Norfolk residents without being tied to a party line.”
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Mrs Squire, who represents Marshland North said policies which have originated with her group include a charter which bans the release of balloon and lanterns on council-owned property, a campaign to cut single use plastics and the creation of the project to plant a million trees in the county.
A large number of the candidates are based in West Norfolk, where independents are the main opposition at the borough council.
The campaign for more Independents there was organised by Jim Moriarty, West Norfolk councillor for Massingham with Castle Acre, who is now also standing for election to County Hall.
He said: "At the last set of local elections in 2019, there was certainly a mood amongst voters that they wanted change at the borough council.
"They wanted councillors to represent them, and not simply be yet more political party puppets. I sense the same mood today as we approach county council elections."
Ed Maxield, who represents Mundesley, quit the Liberal Democrats to go independent last year.
He said: “I am just answerable to my own values and the needs and wishes of the people I represent."
Norfolk County Council's political make-up is Conservatives 52, Labour 16, Liberal Democrats nine, Independent three, Independent (non-aligned) one, non-aligned one and two vacancies.