West Norfolk calls for east/west split

An east/west split would best serve the interests of Norfolk in a reorganisation of local government.That's the view from the west of the county, where councillors last night backed proposals to replace the county council with smaller unitary authorities.

An east/west split would best serve the interests of Norfolk in a reorganisation of local government.

That's the view from the west of the county, where councillors last night backed proposals to replace the county council with smaller unitary authorities.

The options being proposed are a four unitary option, a proposal which has been worked up jointly by South Norfolk Council and West Norfolk council, or a two or three unitary option, based on an east/west split with or without a separate unitary for Norwich.

West Norfolk council leader Nick Daubney said: “The economic importance of the west of Norfolk cannot be ignored in this process.

“If the Boundary Committee are instructed to push through a unitary solution for Norfolk, all the evidence points to a division of Norfolk on an east/west basis, taking into account Great Yarmouth, Norwich and King's Lynn as the major conurbations and economic areas.

“Both Norwich and King's Lynn have rail links with London and both have been identified as important sub-regions.”

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Ray Harding, the council's chief executive, said: “Our goal is to work with all other districts and the Boundary Committee to come up with a solution which means that local people continue to receive cost effective services that are absolutely appropriate to local circumstances.

“In common with South Norfolk, we believe that this can only be achieved by making elected members locally accountable, devolving budget to formally constituted local services forums and bringing decision making closer to the community.

“All the evidence we have available demonstrates that arguments for unitary government based on north/south and single county solutions are inappropriate and ill-conceived.

“The logical way forward is to use the key centres of influence in Norfolk as the basis for any unitary solution. It is the only approach that makes sense of the way people live and work in Norfolk.”

The Boundary Commission is now studying the different proposals from councils. It is due to announce its recommendations in the New Year.

The two proposals will be posted on the Council's website for residents and other interested parties to comment at www-west-norfolk.gov.uk.

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