Meet the three candidates going head to head for spot on district council

Lib Dems gain Worstead ward from the Conservatives. From left, the winner Saul Penfold (Liberal Demo

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 - Credit: Archant

It is characterised by charming villages and scenic north Norfolk countryside. And now three people are hoping to represent Worstead ward on North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) by contesting an election planned for February 15.

People from the area enjoying the Worstead Festival. which runs in July. Picture: Chris Taylor Photo

People from the area enjoying the Worstead Festival. which runs in July. Picture: Chris Taylor Photo - Credit: Chris Taylor Photo

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.

Here we introduce the candidates and why they are standing for council.

Saul Penfold, 45 (Liberal Democrats)

Having previously worked as a teacher and then head of education at Norwich Cathedral for nine years, Mr Penfold now helps churches, community and heritage groups improve their facilities and range of activities.

The Worstead village sign. Picture: Nick Butcher

The Worstead village sign. Picture: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

He lives in Meeting Hill, Worstead, and is chair of governors at Worstead Church of England Primary School. He said this role had made him aware of the negative impact government policy was having on already stretched resources.

Mr Penfold said he had long supported North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb, who he called a 'superb role model in getting things done for our community'. He said he wanted to join the council to give people in Worstead ward a strong voice.

Mr Penfold said: 'Despite cuts to core services, Conservative county councillors recently took the appalling decision to award themselves an 11pc pay increase.

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'I am campaigning to end the stockpiling of cash that has been going on, and want to ensure vital services are improved and maintained.

'I will also support local communities by getting the local plan scheme back on track as it has fallen behind and a great many local communities want to get on with shaping their own future. I feel it's time to do things differently.'

David Spencer, 52 (Labour)

Mr Spencer is a carpenter and general builder from Antingham who has previously served on the district council for 12 years, He has also been a parish and town councillor, and a school governor.

Mr Spencer volunteers to put up and take down the Christmas lights in North Walsham, and at his local common when time allows, and has taken part in campaigns such as Act on Ambulances, Save our Streets and other environmental campaigns.

Mr Spencer said NNDC had become beset by 'bickering' and councillors often neglected to represent residents.

He said: 'It's sad to see many of the basic problems in our villages not being resolved - from poor road and drainage maintenance to poor planning with little regard to the impact on over-stretched services such as our local doctors, and money being wasted on vanity projects.'

Mr Spencer said he would take a different approach if he was elected.

He said: 'I will work with the local community to protect and improve our local services and to bring some common sense to NNDC.

'I have always been proactive and will continue to be if elected as a councillor. I am not someone who will disappear into the woodwork as many seem to do nowadays after being elected.'

Robin Russell-Pavier, 52 (Conservative)

Mr Russell-Pavier lives in Briggate, Worstead, and works as a consultant in the tourism industry.

He said he understood how vital tourism was to the region in creating employment and bringing in income.

Mr Russell-Pavier said he also had a grasp of the challenges facing agriculture as a brother of his was a farmer.

He runs an organisation aimed at getting young people into work and has led campaigns to counter fly-tipping and promote urban gardening and the environment.

His hobbies include walking his dogs, tinkering with his elderly Land Rover and mastering the art of growing fruit and veg.

Mr Russell-Pavier said that if elected to the council, he would campaign on a range of issues including speeding, broadband and transport links.

He said: 'I'm running because I care about the community I live in and for a long time I've wanted to give something back.

'An issue I feel very strongly about is speeding through small villages - the council should start an initiative to reduce that.

'Mobile and broadband signals are still lagging way behind where they should be - in this day and age that needs to be addressed.'

Mr Russell-Pavier said better transport links were desperately needed to help local businesses and communities to prosper.