‘Removed and detached’: Council leaders hammer Broads Authority

William Nunn, chairman of the Norfolk Leaders Group has written to Michael Gove over the Broads Auth

William Nunn, chairman of the Norfolk Leaders Group has written to Michael Gove over the Broads Authority's plan to remove elected members Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

The leaders of all of Norfolk's major councils have hit out at the Broads Authority in a scathing letter to the government.

In response to a review of national parks, Broads bosses made it known they would favour smaller committee sizes, which could see the loss of its only elected members.

The proposal has hit opposition from local authority leaders across the county, who have sent a joint letter to Michael Gove, secretary of state for the department of food and rural affairs.

The letter criticises the authority for a perceived lack of consultation with the local authorities over its response to the review.

It says: 'We are concerned that this lack of engagement at a strategic partner and local community level reflects wider and long-held views that the Broads Authority acts independently of and without reference to established democratic structure locally.

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'We believe that if this was to be adopted, the Broads Authority would be seen as even more removed and detached from the local communities within its executive area and would result in a democratic deficit.'

The letter also argues the proposal would contradict the recommendations of a peer review of the authority carried out less than two years ago, which stated the BA should concentrate on working closer with its stakeholders, including the local authorities.

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The letter, written on behalf of the leaders by William Nunn, chairman of the Norfolk Leaders Group, asks Mr Gove to take it into consideration as part of the National Parks review.

However, the Broads Authority has argued that reducing the number of members would result in it being more 'financially efficient and dynamic'.

A BA spokesman said: 'The call for evidence by the National Parks review team was discussed in detail at two Broads Authority meetings and two meetings of the authority's chair group.

'The present size of the BA board, at 21, seemed to current members to be rather large when compared to the boards of other public bodies. Haydn Thirtle, chairman of the Broads Authority, is meeting the leaders in April and is looking forward to sharing views on alternative governance structures.'

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