Councillor to stand down after 14 years to focus on pub project
- Credit: Graham Elliott
A long-serving councillor who has spearheaded a number of community projects is to stand down from his role to focus on "one final project".
Graham Elliott has represented Beccles as a district councillor for 14 years, but has come to the "difficult decision" to leave East Suffolk Council to focus on making the Locks Inn, in Geldeston, the "best pub in Britain".
As soon as the pub was listed for auction, Mr Elliott sprung into action, forming a community group aiming to buy the popular pub which "holds a very special place in many people's hearts".
The idea was a successful one, buying the pub at the 11th hour before going under the hammer, with 1,400 shareholders now on board.
Mr Elliott said: "I have enjoyed working with local communities and helping to deliver long-lasting benefits for them, but now it is time to concentrate on one final project.
"With so much commitment required by this project, it is necessary for me to stand aside on the district council.
"I am delighted Sarah Plummer will be standing in the by-election which will take place alongside the county council elections in May.
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"I have known Sarah for many years and she is a hard working and compassionate person and will make an excellent councillor.
"It would not have been possible to stand down without such a strong candidate ready to take on this important role."
Mr Elliott, who was first elected to the Beccles North seat on Waveney District Council in 2007, has been involved in several community projects over the years, including those which secured the future of Beccles Lido, the Big Dog Ferry and Beccles Public Hall.
All three assets are now owned by local charity BLL and run for the benefit of the community.
He has also helped secure major improvements at Beccles railway station, as well as getting an hourly train service connecting the town to Ipswich and Lowestoft, as well as securing the future of the bus service and development of cycle routes.
Following the merger of Waveney District and Suffolk Coastal Councils in 2019, Mr Elliott was again elected as a ward councillor for Beccles and Worlingham, this time as a clean sweep for the Green party alongside fellow ward councillors Elfrede Brambley-Crawshaw and Caroline Topping.