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Lord Howard of Castle Rising attempted to impose speed limit change he would later oppose before resignation

It was one of the main disputes that led to a West Norfolk aristocrat resigning from a parish council he had led for 35 years.

But it has now emerged that Lord Greville Howard, of Castle Rising, had in fact attempted to impose a speed limit change in the village he would later oppose.

Last month it was revealed that the 82-year-old Tory peer, whose ancestors built the castle the village is known for, had left his position after “newcomers” to the council rebelled against his authority.

Lord Greville Howard. Picture: West Norfolk Council
Lord Greville Howard. Picture: West Norfolk Council

One of the main sticking points was their ambitions to halve the speed limit in the village from 60mph to 30mph.

Lord Howard, who is one of the wealthiest landowners in the county, fought against this – and was one of two members who voted against the move out of fears the signs it would require would harm the character of the scenic community.

Castle Rising parish councillor Claire Smith said in a motion arguing for the changes that there was “overwhelming support” for the initiative amongst locals and that “to vote against it is to vote against the very clear wishes of the residents of Castle Rising”.

It was after this defeat that Lord Howard quit the authority.

However, it turns out he had in fact installed 30mph signs on land he owned earlier this year in the run-up to the May local elections.

He said this was done as a trial which found it “made no difference” to the way people drove through the village.

The unauthorised signs were quickly reported to Norfolk County Council – which is responsible for roads and highways – and were soon removed by the authority.

The parish council said it had no involvement in the erecting of the signs and that it was a personal initiative of Lord Howard.

A Norfolk County Council spokesperson said: “We removed 30mph signs that had been erected illegally on the highway, and since then the local highway team have been approached by Castle Rising Parish Council and are advising on a formalised approach to speed limits in the village.”

Baron Howard of Rising has since clarified his position, saying: “Norfolk County Council looked at the issue 20 years ago and decided it was not necessary. I do not believe there has been any material change since.

“I would have no problem if there were signs put up at either end of the village but as there is no street lighting, there would need to be several repeater signs put up everywhere.”

He also believes drivers naturally slow down due to the road configuration.

The row over speed limits was not the only reason why the former Conservative politician quit the council he had been a part of for 35 years.

He blamed newcomers wanting to make it more bureaucratic and “destroying the village feel” of the council as a reason for his departure.

He also opposed raising the precept by £1 a week – the amount of tax villagers would pay to the council – and the creation of a new website, arguing it was wrong to ask villagers to pay for what he describes as a “vanity project”.

Those living in the exclusive community have said the row has caused division in the village.

While some appear to have backed the Lord’s defiance of the new members’ policies, others were keen to avoid wading into the debate.

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