Tory stalwart back on political frontline in Yarmouth

CONSERVATIVE stalwart Charles Reynolds is back on the political front line after being selected by the new group leader Stephen Ames as his deputy.

Mr Reynolds has also been handed the cabinet portfolio for tourism in a move which completes his comeback and gives him a firm hand on the Tory tiller in a reshuffle that was due to be rubber stamped by council last night and comes into force today.

This week, he said he was looking forward to the new role although it means stepping down as chairman of the development control committee and handing over to Ron Hanton after four years helping to shape and manage changes across the borough.

He said: 'I have thoroughly enjoyed it and seen some very interesting stuff. Everyone has a different view and there is no whip to it. We have had some pretty major applications that have been interesting, as well as some of the small ones.

'We had one chap in Little Ormesby who had been building furniture there for years. We had quite a bit of trouble overcoming the county council highways situation, but we made it in the end.

'Then one day I saw his wife in the Jolly Farmers, in Ormesby, and she said 'Mr Reynolds, you have changed our life.' I always remember that.'

On Tuesday, Mr Reynolds presided over his last development control meeting – dealing, appropriately enough, with an application in his own borough council ward of Ormesby. Members voted against a scheme for two homes on a former pub car park in the busiest part of the village that was already 'total chaos' on some days. 'It was nice to end protecting my own village,' he said.

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Mr Reynolds, himself a former leader, has served the borough council – bar a few short breaks – since 1979 standing for parliament in 2001.

In 2004 he resigned from two prominent posts as chairman of InteGreat and the economic policy panel over the borough council's commitment to the formation of an urban regeneration company as the best way to regenerate Great Yarmouth which he feared would be 'a terribly irresponsible waste of money.'

'I went into the background,' Mr Reynolds said. 'But I am very pleased Stephen Ames has asked me to come back.'

Despite Mr Reynolds' long service it is technically his first time on the cabinet, his earlier stint as leader pre-dating the cabinet system.

Also taking up cabinet positions are: John Burroughs (resources), Bob Peck (communities), Mark Thompson (environment), and Barry Stone (transformation). Mark Thompson and John Burroughs are both first timers on the cabinet.

Bob Peck returns to the cabinet role he had before losing his Yarmouth North seat on the turn of a card last year after he and Charlie Marsden both gained 1034 votes in an unprecedented dead heat.

This year he contested the Caister South seat, securing a Conservative gain.