Breckland Council rejects devolution deal in vote

Leader of Breckland Council William Nunn. Picture: Ian Burt

Leader of Breckland Council William Nunn. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

Breckland Council has rejected a report to approve the next stages of a devolution deal to create a Mayoral Norfolk and Suffolk combined authority.

At a meeting of full council today, members voted not to endorse the signing of the agreement and the associated publication of the 'draft scheme', which would have included the election of a mayor for the two counties.

In a spirited debate, there was discontent from councillors, who eventually voted 25 to 8 against the plans.

Among those to speak was Ian Sherwood. He said: 'We've been pushed down this road for nine months and you are asking us today to say 'bye,bye Breckland'.

'I encourage councillors to vote with your hearts, have courage, and give other councils across Norfolk and Suffolk a lead.'

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Speaking after the decision, Breckland Leader William Nunn admitted he was 'disappointed'.

He said: 'Whilst Breckland is keen to foster partnership working, any devolution to a combined authority has to be right for the residents and businesses of our district.

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'The matter has been debated and discussed at length with members over the last few months.

'Whilst devolution clearly presents opportunities to steer major decisions at a more local level, members are not yet convinced of the benefits of the deal in its current form and the requirement for a Mayor.'

All authorities within the scope of the devolution deal for Norfolk and Suffolk are taking a similar report to their respective councils this week.

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