North Norfolk snubs devolution deal

The North Norfolk District Council has voted to reject East Anglian devolution.Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The North Norfolk District Council has voted to reject East Anglian devolution.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

The East Anglian devolution deal has suffered a further setback after it was overwhelmingly rejected by North Norfolk District Council.

North Norfolk District Council leader Tom Fitzpatrick

North Norfolk District Council leader Tom Fitzpatrick - Credit: Archant

At a meeting of the full council tonight 40 members voted against signing the agreement to create a combined Norfolk and Suffolk authority and elected mayor with two abstentions.

Council leader Tom FitzPatrick argued there was too much political uncertainty to endorse the package.

Mr FitzPatrick said: 'I think there was uncertainty in a number of areas following the result of EU referendum, the changing of the Prime Minister and possibly some other ministers. There was also opposition to the idea of an elected mayor. There is majority support for devolution as long as it is right, this was just the wrong time.'

He added: 'If we had voted now to go ahead with the consultation and then pulled out later then the entire deal could have collapsed, so we think it is better to keep a watching brief.'

The decision came after Norwich City Council voted unanimously against continuing the process on Tuesday just hours after Breckland Council did the same.

Liberal group leader Andrew Wells said: 'This will create a remote unaccountable bureaucracy which is what people voted against in the EU referendum. The process has been rushed to fit into the government's timetable.'

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