Go-ahead for North Norfolk District Council Tories’ four-year ‘vision’

The Conservatives' 'doing less but better' four-year plan for north Norfolk has been given the district council's stamp of approval - despite criticisms that it lacks detail and a timetable.

The ruling Tory group's corporate plan gives prominence to jobs and the economy, housing, pegging council tax, caring for the coast and countryside, and encouraging Localism.

It was passed by 21 votes to 13, with one abstention, at North Norfolk District Council's (NNDC) full meeting this week after a failed attempt by the council's overview and scrutiny committee to defer its approval.

Liberal Democrat scrutiny committee member Glyn Williams said the document provided an over-arching strategy for the district council and it was important to get it right.

He thought there was still 'some way to go' and it was lacking any real detail. It needed more work and more input from partners including town and parish councils.

But council leader Helen Eales said there was 'some misunderstanding' about the corporate plan. It was a four-year vision which would be followed by detailed annual action plans and each of those would be subject to consultation.

The national economic situation was so uncertain that it would be pointless trying to plan in detail too far ahead. She explained: 'We can't tell what the situation is going to be in the next six months, let alone four years.'

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Fellow cabinet member Trevor Ivory said that unlike the Lib-Dems, the Conservatives would not be setting targets, 'un-achievable from the start', but their detailed action plans would set out sensible and realistic steps.

Commenting after the meeting the Lib-Dem group on the council expressed its disappointment at the decision. Councillor Richard Smith claimed the Conservatives' failure to 'tackle with any substance' the scrutiny committee's comments spoke volumes about how the administration would operate.

He added: 'For example, we highlighted that the key issue of improved broadband provision was missing. If this document went through a proper consultation process, important areas such as this wouldn't be missed out. To say issues will be added in later is not acceptable.'