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Shock result at North Norfolk District Council- Lib Dems gain Worstead ward from the Conservatives

PUBLISHED: 11:39 16 February 2018 | UPDATED: 11:39 16 February 2018

Lib Dems take Worstead ward from Conservatives on NNDC. From left, Norman Lamb MP, Saul Penfold and Sarah Butikofer. Picture: Supplied by Sarah Butikofer

Lib Dems take Worstead ward from Conservatives on NNDC. From left, Norman Lamb MP, Saul Penfold and Sarah Butikofer. Picture: Supplied by Sarah Butikofer

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More misery has been heaped on the Conservative group at North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) with the Liberal Democrats celebrating a landslide victory at a by-election.

Lib Dems gain Worstead ward from the Conservatives. From left, the winner Saul Penfold (Liberal Democrat) , with the other candidates, David Spencer (Labour) and Robin Russell-Pavier (Conservative). Pictures: Provided by the candidates Lib Dems gain Worstead ward from the Conservatives. From left, the winner Saul Penfold (Liberal Democrat) , with the other candidates, David Spencer (Labour) and Robin Russell-Pavier (Conservative). Pictures: Provided by the candidates

NNDC re-tweeted a tweet from LocalCouncils.co.uk: “The @NorthNorfolkDC Worstead ward result is in: Liberal Democrat gain from Conservative. Saul Penfold is the winner.”

The ‘casual vacancy’ for the ward - which includes Felmingham, Skeyton, Suffield, Swanton Abbott, Westwick and Worstead parishes - was triggered by the resignation in December of Glyn Williams due to health reasons.

A total of 704 votes were cast with the Lib Dems getting 509, 72pc of the vote, the Tories 118 and Labour 73, with four spoilt.

It comes just a month after another North Norfolk district councillor quit the Conservative group, in the latest in a string of similar resignations.

Norman Smith, the ward member for Erpingham, joined the Independent Group.

That came on the back of eight defections last year and means the council is now made up of 22 Conservatives, 18 Liberal Democrats, and eight Independents.

Sarah Butikofer, leader of the Lib Dem group at the council, said: “It’s an outstanding result with a fantastic majority sending a very clear message to the Conservative group at NNDC that people want a change.

“I am delighted to welcome Saul to the Liberal Democrat team at NNDC, I know he will do an excellent job representing not only the residents of the Worstead ward but people across North Norfolk.”

Mr Penfold, 45, a former teacher, now helps churches, community and heritage groups improve their facilities and range of activities.

He said he wanted to join the council to give people in Worstead ward a strong voice.

“I’m privileged and honoured to be chosen,” he added. “Two of the main issues I will be looking at are Broadband speed and pot holes.”

John Lee, leader of the Conservative group at the council, who is expected to become council leader at next Wednesday’s full council meeting, said: “Obviously we are disappointed to lose the seat, but it’s not a great surprise. The Lib Dems have a good record at by-elections.”

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