Waveney District Council: Big decisions for duo

TWO councillors who hold the key to the balance of power on Waveney District Council have said they will make their decisions this week.

Conservatives lost overall control of the authority at last week’s district elections and both the Tories and Labour now have 23 seats.

The other two members of the 48-seat authority are Green councillor Graham Elliott, who represents Beccles North, and Independent Peter Collecott, in Oulton.

Their decisions are now crucial to the future of the hung council.

Both Mr Elliott and Mr Collecott have spoken to Conservative and Labour groups and to each other and will shortly be revealing their decisions.

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“It is a momentous decision to have to make and I am keeping all my options open,” said Mr Collecott.

“I have been talking to various people and in maybe a day or so I will come to a decision.”

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Mr Elliott added: “I’ve heard what both group leaders have to say and negotiations have been very positive. I will be able to say more very soon.”

The new Labour group leader is Julian Swainson, who was elected to the council on Friday.

He said: “I think there is some legitimacy in our looking to work with both of them. It’s a very tight and very difficult situation.

“We’ve got to approach it with common sense and humility. We’ll have to see what arrangements we can make with the other parties, but we would only enter into such an agreement if the result was a stable council.”

Conservative leader Mark Bee – who is due to step down on May 25 as he prepares to take over as leader of Suffolk County Council – said their talks were also ongoing.

A new leader of the Conservative group is due to be elected on May 18.

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