Super council plans

Explosive proposals to overhaul town halls would see a new Norfolk super council take in Lowestoft and be in pole position to deliver betterand cheaper services for 900,000 people.

Explosive proposals to overhaul town halls would see a new Norfolk super council take in Lowestoft and be in pole position to deliver better

and cheaper services for 900,000 people.

That was the shock verdict of the Boundary Committee of England which on Monday set out its preferred option to replace councils with a new one-size-fits-all unitary set-up.

The move torpedoes Norwich's home rule dream, dismisses the prospects of a separate Yarmouth-Lowestoft “Yartoft” option and extinguishes hopes that King's Lynn would lead a new council for the West.

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And the plans sparked almost universal uproar among MPs and district councils who said the findings represented the worst of all worlds.

Steve Morphew, leader of Norwich city council, said the authority would still fight for home rule for the city.

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“There's no doubt that the historic importance of the city would be threatened by this greater Norfolk proposal,” he said.

Daniel Cox, leader of Norfolk County Council, said the Lowestoft option had taken them by surprise but he was glad the committee had recognised the merits of a super council.

“We clearly set out the case that a single county unitary would deliver the most efficient services, be simple to understand, and keeps Norfolk together and enables us to have a strong voice locally and nationally,”

he said. “The Boundary Committee heard the evidence and felt the proposal made sense.”

Ray Harding, chief executive of West Norfolk Council, said: “West Norfolk has been overlooked and we can't believe that the significance of King's Lynn and the west of the county appears to have been ignored.”

Breckland Council's bid for a three-county unitary, the so-called nutcracker, bit

the dust. Now, in defeat, the authority appears to be rowing back from any change, arguing that major structural change in Norfolk was unnecessary, saying it was concerned about the potential cost of change and the impact on taxpayers and attacking the proposed county unitary as too large.

Council leader William Nunn said: “These are ludicrous proposals. Our residents will end up paying twice as much as now, with no benefits to show for it. I will be working with others to bring the status quo back to the table.”

He said the proposal for only 120 elected councillors for the whole of Norfolk would mean only a quarter of the present number - a democratic deficit.

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