Broadland District Council look to heal rift with New Anglia LEP

Progress has been made to heal a growing rift between Broadland District Council and the government-backed New Anglia local enterprise partnership (LEP) business group.

The council's head of economic development, Hamish Melville, spoke at a meeting of Broadland's overview and scrutiny committee yesterday following questions from councillors at the council's monthly cabinet meeting in August.

Stuart Clancy, portfolio holder for economic development, said at the August meeting that he had received no direct communications from the LEP and that the district's businesses had seen no specific returns for the council's �7,000 in annual fees paid to the partnership.

He added that he was concerned that the LEP could be seen as simply another 'bureaucratic quango'.

The overview and scrutiny committee had unanimously backed a motion recommending the cabinet to consider withdrawing from the LEP if their concerns were not dealt with last month.

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But Mr Melville eased the tension yesterday, saying: 'I'm pleased to say, following that (meeting) and various media coverage, we are starting to build up a relationship with the chairman to get that relationship back on track.

'There was a request at cabinet to have a look at the layout and I have made a formal request for us to back off from this issue just for the time being, to get that relationship moving.'

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The news was welcomed and the committee's chairman James Joyce said the issue would be added to the agenda for December's meeting.

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