Eco-town tops Wroxham by-election agenda

Shaun LowthorpeControversial plans for an eco-town are dominating a council by-election campaign in Wroxham as five candidates including a wannabe Ukip MP and a teenage undergraduate studying in York contest the seat.Shaun Lowthorpe

Plans for an eco-town are dominating a council by-election campaign in Wroxham as five candidates contest the seat.

Voters go to the polls in the Broad-land District Council poll on October 1 to find out who will succeed independent candidate David Teager, who died of cancer last month.

Those standing are Glenn Tingle, the UK Independence Party candidate who finished fourth in the recent Norwich North by-election, former Conservative district councillor Ian Evans, Malcolm Kemp for Labour, Nick Ball for the Greens, and Ben McGilvray for the Lib Dems.

Four of the candidates agreed that plans for thousands of new homes, and in particular the eco-town in Rackheath, which they all oppose, are at the heart of their campaigns, while Mr Kemp supported the scheme, if the right measures were in place for schools and low-cost homes.

"If there is the right mix of affordable housing between Rackheath and Norwich, I wouldn't be against that," said Mr Kemp. "A lot of people in the village have concerns about where their children will live."

The elections came as the joint core strategy for the greater Norwich area, detailing where thousands of homes should go, is up in the air after officials from the department for transport delayed a decision on the Norwich northern bypass.

Most Read

Officials have promised to announce whether to recommend it or not by Christmas.

Mr McGilvray, 19, whose family lives in Wroxham, is a second-year history student at York University.

But he insisted that he would still be able to represent residents in the area, if he wins.

Mr Ball said he planned to draw up his own plan showing what sustainable development could look like. "Our village is blighted at the moment with a huge eyesore where the petrol station used to be," he said. "I would like to see a wind turbine there."