Suffolk

Referendum over Great Yarmouth elected mayor plan

Residents in a Norfolk resort are preparing for a third vote on 5 May and it could be a historic occasion.

A referendum on an elected mayor is being held in the Borough of Great Yarmouth as well as council elections and a poll on the alternative vote system.

But not everyone is persuaded that it is a good idea.

All of the parties on the council are officially against the referendum but the leader of the Labour group, Mick Castle, is heading a campaign in support of an elected mayor.

He said: "A traditional council leader is only elected in Yarmouth by as few as 20 councillors whereas an elected mayor is elected by all 70,000 voters so it makes for a 'buck stops here' leader."

Barry Coleman, Conservative, who is against the plan, said: "There is no need to bang heads together because we get on quite well as it is.

"But the fact that you need one person to do that also diminishes the responsibility of the other elected members."

Three petitions

It took three attempts to get the petition for a referendum approved.

Great Yarmouth Borough Council declared the submission of 7 June 2010 invalid because it had been signed by too few voters.

On 6 September 2010 a further petition was submitted and this was amalgamated with the first petition.

However, this amalgamated petition was also ruled invalid because it had been signed by too few voters.

A further petition was submitted on 24 September 2010 and this was amalgamated with the previous petitions.

Since 1997 there have been 37 referendums held in local authorities asking residents whether they want directly-elected Mayors.

Among these, 24 voted "No" and 13 voted "Yes".

The BBC Politics Show in the East is due to be broadcast at 1215 BST on Sunday.

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