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‘I have no confidence in leader or cabinet’: Councillor quits ruling group

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A councillor has said she has “no confidence” in the borough council leader and cabinet as she has resigned from the ruling Independent Partnership.

Alex Kemp, who represents the South and West Lynn ward, also sent a scathing open letter to Terry Parish, claiming he had “failed to keep his promise to South Lynn to stop building on Harding’s Way”.

However, West Norfolk Council’s leader described her claims as lacking “common sense”.

Cllr Alex Kemp
Cllr Alex Kemp

It comes less than five months after Cllr Kemp stepped down as a cabinet member for people and communities – when she said she felt she could not support the cabinet’s “general direction of travel”.

She will now be a non-aligned councillor, after stating that she did not agree with Cllr Parish’s “shameful treatment of Harding’s Way and West Winch”.

“I have no confidence in Terry Parish and his cabinet to steer West Norfolk’s ship to safe harbours,” she said.

Cllr Terry Parish
Cllr Terry Parish

“Terry has failed to keep his promise to South Lynn to stop building on Harding’s Way.”

It comes after a row between councillors following discussions about creating a village green at Harding’s Pits earlier this week.

West Norfolk Council cabinet members agreed to push forward with the £29,000 scheme to designate land as a protected outdoor space.

But critics – including Cllr Kemp – say it does not go far enough and want the scope of the project to be expanded to prevent any future development in the area, which was once the heart of the town’s whaling industry.

In the local plan, a section of land next to Harding’s Way has been earmarked for 43 homes.

This makes it legally exempt from being included in the village green project, leaving it open for development in the future.

Cllr Kemp will be attending a protest at the Harding’s Way bus gate on Saturday, February 3 at 11am to demand the homes be removed from the local plan.

Speaking to the Lynn News, Cllr Parish said: “In general terms, it’s always a shame when anyone resigns from anything. Alex is passionate about things but it’s unfortunate when that passion overrules common sense sometimes.”

The council leader said: “I haven’t declared that it will now be open to traffic. All these things have to go through panels and cabinets. Nobody has even suggested it.”

By becoming a village green, also featuring a community orchard, Harding’s Pits will be “protected, as much as anything can be protected, forever,” he added.

“There are still no plans to actually develop these pieces of land, but it doesn’t stop them coming forward in the future,” Cllr Parish added.

He said that the pieces of land were purchased “before his time”, but that it would be a “waste of public money to discard them without due consideration”.

Cllr Parish added that – as far as he was aware – Harding’s Pits volunteers, who help maintain the area, were “more than happy” with the plans.

Additional reporting by Owen Sennitt, Local Democracy Reporter

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