Call to scrap area committees for Norwich and Great Yarmouth

County council leaders are being urged to save time and money by scrapping area committees for Norwich and Great Yarmouth.

Members of the council's corporate resources overview and scrutiny panel yesterday recommended that the two committees should be scrapped because most of their work can be carried out by existing local strategic partnerships (LSPs), including one run by Norwich City Council.

Set up in 1999 there were originally seven area committees covering the whole county, but these were reduced to two.

Green councillor Richard Bearman said he was concerned the plans had been put forward without any consultation, and the committees should be handed more powers to give city-based county councillors a stronger voice.

'Doing away with something just because you feel it serves no useful purpose is not the right approach,' Mr Bearman said. 'I ask you to think seriously before you put this to cabinet as I don't think it's the right way to go at a time when you have got central government encouraging us to engage with local people.'

Labour councillor George Nobbs said: 'The correct course would be to give the area committees some powers, however small, so they have some reason for existence. At the moment they are totally pointless and little more than a talking shop.'

Committee chairman Cliff Jordan said: 'The LSPs are right across the county, but these committees have no powers, they are nothing. There is an overlap, they are doing the same things. You either get rid of the LSPs, or you get rid of two area committees and leave the LSPs as they are.'