Court fight over council shake-up

Ian Clarke Three Norfolk councils today launched a High Court action against the Boundary Committee and a government minister over the controversial shake-up of local authorities.

Ian Clarke

Three Norfolk councils today launched a High Court action against the Boundary Committee over the controversial shake-up of local authorities.

Breckland, South Norfolk and King's Lynn and West Norfolk councils have described the BC's draft proposals - which would create a single authority for Norfolk and Lowestoft - as “unlawful.”

Breckland is the lead partner in the joint High Court proceedings which were issued against served against the BC.


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Breckland leader William Nunn said: “The Boundary Committee are required to consult with people on the proposals but how can anyone make a judgement or have input into the process without details of the cost implications and its affordability? This would be like walking into a car showroom to buy a car with no information on price or running costs.”

A spokesman said the budgeted costs of a judicial review are “between £50,000 to £65,000 for a successful case.”

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He added: “The council will however constantly review the merits of proceeding with the case.”

The figure has risen from an initial £40,000 predicted when the three councils - along with North Norfolk District - agreed to contribute to a “fighting fund” against the reorganisation.

Other elements of the campaign previously outlined would be £185,000 for a referendum, £22,500 for a group of experts to scrutinise the proposals and a £50,000 lobbyist.

North Norfolk is helping towards the fund although its name is not on the High Court claim form.

The High Court papers allege “that the Boundary Committee's failure to address any issues of affordability at all prevents proper consultation on its proposals, which fundamentally undermines the entire reorganisation process.”

The three councils also point out “the BC's own officers advised against the creation of a single unitary authority and Committee members ignored this advice without giving any reasons whatsoever.”

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