Anger grows at Norfolk County Council proposal to cut second-homes council tax cash for communities in bid to pay its incinerator bill

The official start of the Homes for Wells building work. The project benefited from a £150,000 Big Society Fund grant. Chairman Anne Phillips (front) with Pentaco Contacts Manager Geoff Lane, with the digger ready to go. Picture: Matthew Usher. The official start of the Homes for Wells building work. The project benefited from a £150,000 Big Society Fund grant. Chairman Anne Phillips (front) with Pentaco Contacts Manager Geoff Lane, with the digger ready to go. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Monday, May 12, 2014
10:52 AM

Scores of community projects in towns and villages would be hit hard if Norfolk County Council votes to withhold second homes council tax cash to pay off its incinerator debt, it has been claimed.

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North Norfolk District Council (NNDC), King’s Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council and Broadland District Council have joined the growing swell of protest at the prospect.

Today the county council’s cabinet will discuss a proposal to cut the £1.04m it pays to district and borough councils from the tax, in a bid to plug the hole in its finances caused by its £30m bill for terminating the King’s Lynn waste incinerator contract.

NNDC and King’s Lynn chief executives Sheila Oxtoby and Ray Harding have written a joint letter to the county’s head of finance, Peter Timmins, objecting to the suggestion and calling for an urgent meeting to discuss it.

In north Norfolk most of the second homes cash goes into a Big Society Fund and an Enabling Fund, which have both paid out multi thousands of pounds to community causes in the past two years, ranging from village hall repairs to skateparks.

NNDC leader Tom FitzPatrick said the cash was specifically intended to benefit areas with large numbers of second homes like north Norfolk which had the highest proportion - about 10pc - in the county. NNDC could lose more than £900,000 this year if the cash was withheld.

“I am furious that this proposal has come forward without consultation,” said Mr FitzPatrick. “We have communities which suffer rural isolation and this money is being ploughed back in to help them. We fear this is only the thin end of the wedge.”

Broadland leader Andrew Proctor said he was disappointed at the lack of consultation.

The loss of any of the money would hit the local community which had been receiving it as part of Broadland’s community grant programme.

“It is equally disappointing that the district council is being asked to bail out the county’s financial problem when the issue is not one that involves Broadland. It strikes me that this is a ‘grab whatever money can be grabbed’ approach to bail out the county council,” he added.

Breckland Council leader Michael Wassell has already said the move risked damaging long-term trust and relationships.

Peter Terrington is chairman of the finance committee of Homes for Wells which recently received a £150,000 NNDC Big Society grant to help convert a former field studies centre in the town into 10 affordable homes for local people.

He said without the grant the homes project would not have been completed. Wells had a large number of second homes, rising house prices and more than 100 people on the waiting list for affordable homes.

“This is what this money is ideally suited for,” he added. “It would be devastating if it was stopped.”

County council leader George Nobbs has said the final decision would rest with the county council.

36 comments

  • Eric is awaiting the Euro elections to finish. So some time after next week the anti burner bunch will get their bad news. What sort of idiots did not know that?

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    Mad Dog

    Saturday, May 17, 2014

  • Eric is in no rush. Have you noticed this yet D?

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    democrat

    Thursday, May 15, 2014

  • Of course they still want to build it. The morons who signed the contract were basically giving them free money from our pockets. Still, good old Palm have firmly placed a nail in the efw coffin. I await Mr Pickles resounding "no, sorry, its a ridiculous place to build an incinerator. What kind of idiot thinks its a good place".

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    d, west lynn

    Thursday, May 15, 2014

  • Indeed the consortium have said they are still going ahead with the incinerator as explained well in advance some time ago. The over concentration by campaigners on the Council contract was a political triple bluff which they sleep walked into. There will be a re negotiation. Dirty business politics. Hate to say I told you so.

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    Dickens

    Thursday, May 15, 2014

  • We can now see why NCC are going to hold onto the land at Saddlebow for the time being, because CW still want to go ahead and build the incinerator. If Norfolk County Council sell out to CW on the pretence of reclaiming the maximum amount of the public's cash, it will be the worst case of tre.achery ever. We need guarantees Norfolk will be incinerator free and we need them now!

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    Honest John

    Tuesday, May 13, 2014

  • I agree with ingo. Those abusive anti campaigners have to go. They have cost us all a fortune now.

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    Rastus Obinga-Odinga

    Tuesday, May 13, 2014

  • Jack Bantoft wants to spent 300.000,- of taxpayers money to find out that the 70% who voted for recycling reuse and the reduction of waste still don't want to see an incinerator, but would like to see our party politicians to get orf their backsides and start informing themnselves of the alternatives, what a bunch of flounces, the lot of them. The EDP should never be allowed to regulate itself, they can't even stop the abuse of commenters here, never mind step over their considerable bias and lack of democratic nous, a mouth piece.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Tuesday, May 13, 2014

  • Another pot kettle moment from the anti campaign. About as sharp as putty. The worst aspect is how six people use multi names to give the group the look of something big when in reality it is so small. 800,000 people in Norfolk were never asked for their view.

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    Jack Bantoft

    Tuesday, May 13, 2014

  • You have to admire the desperation and despair through perceverance and trolling by the individual here who has been continuously made to look stupid and proved wrong over thier beloved incinerator. If you are so great and right all the time please actually come back with evidence of truths, realistic claims or at least some dignity....

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    d, west lynn

    Tuesday, May 13, 2014

  • Even better the two short planks comment below. Nice example of campaign intellect.

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    Percy Cuted

    Tuesday, May 13, 2014

  • We can see from the intelle.ctually challe.nged posts below the ang.er is certainly growing. Wouldn’t it have been good to have had this person writing to Pickles for a call in, with all their alia.ses the 7,000 letters could easily have been 14,000. We slipped up there chaps.

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    Honest John

    Tuesday, May 13, 2014

  • Mr A. Schicklgruber, "Six Nimby's"? I think you will find that there were 65,516 people living in West Norfolk who were right minded enough to see the flawed contract for what it was and had the gumption to say "not in my back yard, thank you". Even if you chose to support the Incinerator proposal, and even if it was going to be in your own back yard (or not), at least give those 65,516 people a hearty "thank-you" for saving you and yours from a project that at £105tonne, would have been the most expensive waste incinerator this country would have ever known. Oh, and Lyn from Lynn, there is no suggestion that the project would still go ahead without one councils contract. Even if ERic Pickles does grant planning consent, they will still have to find a group of banks stupid enough to lend them the money to build it. With no local authority contract to underpin the income, this will probably be an even bigger hill to climb than getting planning consent and buy-in from the local population.

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    BernardJuby

    Monday, May 12, 2014

  • Go away Di.ckens no one is listening to you anyone with an ounce of common sense knows exactly who to blame, its obviously those who approved the contract.

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    Canary Boy

    Monday, May 12, 2014

  • I agree with "V". The assets of the campaigners should be taken and they should be made to pay up compensation to the rest of Norfolk's tax payers for this mess.

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    Not A Nimby

    Monday, May 12, 2014

  • I realise that these campaigners took the sucker punch over this and did not see that the project would still go ahead without one councils contract but what a shame the rest of Norfolk has been clobbered as a result of what they did. What a waste of time and money.

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    Lyn from Lynn

    Monday, May 12, 2014

  • Sources close to Whitehall say that the go ahead is being given to build an incineratot anyway so all of these losses were for nothing. If the campaigners had kept out of it we would all be millions better off. That shower has cost us a fortune.

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    Canary Brain

    Monday, May 12, 2014

  • Those dreadful anti campaigners have ruined our services. The six who led the campaign should have their houses taken off them to pay the bill for all of the misery they are now causing for the rest of the County.

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    Mad Dog

    Monday, May 12, 2014

  • Di.ckens how can 6 people (you call nimbys) equal a mob? And do explain how those 6 people, you have always called failures because they ignored your advice, manage to outwit NCC and CW causing planning failure and the termination of the contract?

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    Canary Boy

    Monday, May 12, 2014

  • NCC lost £32 million to the Icelandic banks. £30 plus million to an incinerator company with violations as long as your arm for fraud and polluting. I blame weak minded yes men councillors who allowed this. They ignored the public and more bothered about financial benefits for saying nothing and told which way to vote. The media seems be full of ex councillors who were voted out of power and now have an axe to grind.

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    Interpol

    Monday, May 12, 2014

  • ......"We have communities which suffer rural isolation"....are they the ones without skateparks and derelict village halls? At least they probably have lots of hanging baskets to keep their spirits up....poor things.

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    Fly Tipper

    Monday, May 12, 2014

  • I wonder if Mr Fitzpatrick has forgotten that the thin end of the wedge started 4 years a go, when the Tories introduce the Big Society Fund in North Norfolk, councillor Ivory, ignored the views of the people of Sheringham, and many party members at the time bulldozing the Big Society Fund into being, all in the name of localism. so thankfully its Goodbye to the Big Society!

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    Hugh

    Monday, May 12, 2014

  • Mr A.Scaremongerer i'm sorry, the anti efw faction was based on saving Norfolk money. It was the m0rons that signed the flawed contract that are to blame. You will have to suck it up i'm afraid.

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    d, west lynn

    Monday, May 12, 2014

  • The anti incinerator mob and the MP that led them are to blame. Our council tax will rocket and services will collapse all because of six Nimby's.

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    Mr A. Schicklgruber

    Monday, May 12, 2014

  • Grey Fox and Barbara appear to blame opposite sides. All the problems GF itemises arose under Labour with the possible exception of Endowment Mortgages which used to have the unreserved support of 'Which' but I guess they would not want us to remember that now. Problem is that I don't think Cameron is any better, the LibDems certainly are not and the Eds terrify me with their crackpot ideas and the proposed return to failed socialist policies.

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    andy

    Monday, May 12, 2014

  • The true financial picture will be known on 17th May, so it is just as well the Cabinet today only made a recommendation to Full Council which meets after then and will have fuller picture. It is Full Council who have to decide on £3.48 million of savings then. Discussions with Districts should have been finished by then and the true level of possible loss to Districts established, as the figures quoted in this article are not the same as given to Cabinet today.

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    bedoomed

    Monday, May 12, 2014

  • Dont be silly Di.ckens how many times have you written that the anti campaigners were totally ineffective, a lost campaign group who were totally ignored by everyone! How can they be to blame? They did not dream up the non viable project, they did not agree penalty clauses high enough to bankrupt Norfolk, and they didnt cor.rupt the planning system to ensure consent until the goverment stepped in due to mal.administration and public outcry against the cor.rupt behaviour. Look to those who authorised the contract for recompence and also ask if anyone has bothered to scrutinise the comp claim or just rubberstamped paying their friends the max payable under the contract. Dont forget wnbc want to buy the site which would make up the shortfall.

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    Canary Boy

    Monday, May 12, 2014

  • You can blame the 'anti incinerator' campaigners who fought to have the contract cancelled. The losses are down to them and no one else.

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    Del Boy

    Monday, May 12, 2014

  • kaz - if only life was as simple as that. People with second homes bring a lot of wealth to the county plus they tell their friends and family who come here as visitors spending their money in hotels, b &b etc. Cutting off your nose just to spite your face isn`t a good idea. Personally I think those people who signed up to the incinerator deal should pay and lose their jobs in the bargain. Why should the people of Norfolk be penalised for their ineptitude. I have just to hear of any disciplinary action being taken over this debacle. Probably because everyone in the, "food chain," is as guilty as the next person and if they started disciplinary proceedings where would it all end for them.

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    BG

    Monday, May 12, 2014

  • Let's hope that the electorate never forgets which Party "lost" the £30m plus. In case anyone has forgotten it was the Tories who incidently also controlled most of the District Councils which also supported the incinerator and are now complaining.

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    Barbara

    Monday, May 12, 2014

  • Appears to have been some seriously poor negotiating and contract mismanagement. What is going wrong in this once great country of ours ? There is a pattern emerging here - Bankingfinance crisis, MPs expenses, PFI failures, Stock marketpensions, endowment mortgage shortfalls to name but a few. Then there are the billions that have been paid into the EU for which we have seen little benefit. Remember this can change if you use the power of your vote, and vote wisely.

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    Grey Fox

    Monday, May 12, 2014

  • Mr Fitzpatrick didn't know what the County Council was up to and he leader of the Tories on same? Wakey Wakey!!

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    alecto

    Monday, May 12, 2014

  • @V, I think you will find that councillors have (statutory) immunity from (civil) liability provided they are acting within for the authority "in good faith and without negligence," I suspect to proving the latter, you would need to show that they ignored council officers advice, council policy, etc etc in court.

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    G_of_Norwich

    Monday, May 12, 2014

  • if people can afford a second home then I think they should pay full council tax like everyone else..without so many second homes in Norfolk a lot more people could buy homes to live in permanently.....

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    kaz

    Monday, May 12, 2014

  • Why hasnt the assets (houses, cars, businesses etc) of those who signed the contract been confiscated ?. If they try and hide the assets by signing them into another name then this should not stop them being confiscated.

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    "V"

    Monday, May 12, 2014

  • A perfect example of how our current two-tier system of local government does not work.The county council has never appeared less needed and is an unaffordable luxury in an increasingly tight settlement for local government.

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    Peter Watson

    Monday, May 12, 2014

  • Why doesn't Mr Fitzpatrick raise the amount of council tax paid by second homes in North Norfolk to cover the shortfall. He has that power being the council leader! - No mention of the fact that the incinerator bill which needs paying is entirely of his parties making.

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    Callum Ringer

    Monday, May 12, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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