Cost revealed of preparations for Norfolk council meeting which failed to take place as planned

More than �2,500 of taxpayers' cash was spent preparing for a meeting in which councillors decided against discussing items they had previously chosen to debate, it emerged today.

Sports activity and second home ownership were lined up for Norfolk County Council's cabinet scrutiny committee last month.

But the meeting came to an early end as motions were passed to prevent debates on the two agenda items, with Conservative member Tony Adams suggesting other committees could better scrutinise the issues.

This was despite councillors previously recommending and agreeing during September, October and November last year that they wanted to examine sports activity.

Councillors heard today the cost of printing and posting committee papers, and the time officers spent working on reports requested for the meeting, amounted to a four-figure sum.

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Paul Morse, committee chairman and Liberal Democrat group leader, replying to a question said: 'I did ask officers for an estimate of the cost of their time plus the postage and printing for the February 7 meeting. They were at pains to stress that they do not spend one hour and 10 minutes on this or whatever. Their best estimate was �2,500 – just over.'

Mr Morse said this figure did not include the expenses claims for mileage from councillors who attended.

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The two agenda items due were referred to other committees for discussion. A further four issues selected for future meetings were also removed and reallocated to another committee.

Graham Jones, Lib Dem for Mundesley, suggested at today's full council meeting it appeared Conservative members of the cabinet scrutiny committee might have been acting under the guidance of council leader Derrick Murphy.

But Mr Murphy rejected the claim, calling on Mr Jones to repudiate the 'appalling allegation' and stressing the committee was a body for which political orders were not given.

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