Countryside campaigners call to stop survey on East Anglia devolution

Chris Dady, from the CPRE believes the devolution consultation is flawed. The process could win the

Chris Dady, from the CPRE believes the devolution consultation is flawed. The process could win the region £130m for affordable homes but he believes the forms do not allow people to express their views fully, leading to potential problems for the countryside. - Credit: PA

The public consultation over a devolution deal for East Anglia should be withdrawn because it will not provide a 'full picture of the views of residents', countryside campaigners have claimed.

Chris Dady, the chairman of the Norfolk branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, has written to MPs saying the consultation should be replaced.

The public are being asked for their views on deals which would see combined authorities and elected mayors for Norfolk and Suffolk and for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

The government is offering £750m over 30 years to spend on new roads, transport links, and another £130m over the next five years to help build affordable homes.

Four councils in Norfolk – Norwich, Great Yarmouth, Breckland and North Norfolk – voted not to back the deal but the remaining authorities are pushing ahead with consultation.

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The consultation has proved controversial, with some county councillors branding it as 'biased' – claims which were rejected by county council leader Cliff Jordan.

And Mr Dady, in an open letter, said: 'There is an issue with the online consultation in that it does not specifically seek views regarding devolution itself but rather more matters of administration and priorities once it has been put in place.

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'The county council tell me that it is possible to use the free text boxes within the consultation to express wider views but this is not satisfactory in terms of the consultation giving a full picture of the views of residents.'

He also said the promise of extra money for 'economically driven goals' – more houses and infrastructure, could see the countryside flooded with homes which he said are not needed.

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