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Council leaders postpone decision on whether to sell site planned for Norfolk incinerator

The proposed incinerator site at Saddlebow. Picture: Ian Burt.

The proposed incinerator site at Saddlebow. Picture: Ian Burt.

Archant © 2010

Council leaders have postponed a decision on whether to sell the site where a hugely controversial incinerator was due to be built.

And whether to go ahead with a proposal to snatch second homes cash back from district councils will also be left to another day.

Under proposals put forward before the potential compensation costs for axing the proposed Saddlebow incinerator went up by £3.4m, two options were put forward to help pay the bill.

One option would take £900,000 from highways maintenance and spend £140,000 less on library books.

The other would make up the missing £1m or so from about half of the money from council tax on second homes which the county council currently gives to district councils.

But a call-in by west Norfolk county councillors John Dobson, Brian Long and Jason Law criticised the officers’ recommendations as “ill-thought through”.

Scrutiny councillors recommended that cabinet review the proposed service cuts with a view to finding the savings elsewhere, in line with Mr Dobson’s proposal.

But at a meeting today, the controlling Labour/Liberal Democrat cabinet decided to ask officers to draw up a further report on how the missing money might be found.

That report will come before the full council at the annual meeting on Tuesday.

A separate proposal from Cabinet scrutiny, that the county council should offer to sell the Willows site at Saddlebow to West Norfolk Borough Council, subject to valuation by the District Valuer, was also pushed further down the line.

The cabinet agreed that any sale should be a matter for the new committees which will be formed after Tuesdays’s meeting.

But officers said the council could not just sell the site to West Norfolk Council and would have to follow due process to get the best possible deal for taxpayers.

And they said the site could still be needed for an alternative way to deal with the county’s waste.

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