Norfolk and Suffolk devolution looks dead after councillors in King’s Lynn vote against deal

The East Anglia flag. But the devolution deal for Norfolk and Suffolk looks to be dead. Picture: DEN

The East Anglia flag. But the devolution deal for Norfolk and Suffolk looks to be dead. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

Devolution for Norfolk and Suffolk tonight appears to be in tatters, after councillors in west Norfolk voted against the deal which the government had offered.

With Norwich, Great Yarmouth, Breckland and North Norfolk councils having already withdrawn from the process, the government made clear the remaining 12 councils in the two counties would have to back the deal, or it would be taken off the table.

And West Norfolk Council dramatically voted by 44 votes to 14 to reject it tonight - a decision which will send political shockwaves rippling across the two counties.

Broadland District Council and South Norfolk Council also met tonight. Broadland and South Norfolk backed the deal. But West Norfolk's decision will prove decisive.

It is understood other councils in Norfolk and Suffolk will still go through the motions of voting next week - but the government has been clear that one withdrawal means the current deal will be taken away.

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Critics of the current deal, such as North West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham hope that will open the door for a new, Norfolk-only deal to be negotiated, while Suffolk could ask the government to hand them a deal of their own.

Supporters of the deal, including the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, had said the deal would bring in £750m of new funding for infrastructure and £130m for new homes.

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But critics were unhappy the government was insisting that a new mayor must form part of a combined authority.

That was part of the reason why the Norfolk councils which had previously withdrawn from the process did so.

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