Yarmouth withdraws from merger talks with South Norfolk

Great Yarmouth Borough Council has pulled back from controversial plans to merge management teams with South Norfolk Council.

The authorities had been exploring possibilities for a cost-saving partnership since the start of the year and the option of a single officer corps under one chief executive had been considered.

But the move was sidelined during a briefing between both sides on Tuesday, according to Great Yarmouth council leader Steve Ames and South Norfolk Council leader John Fuller. It follows South Norfolk's withdrawal from a similar proposed merger with Breckland Council last year.

'They concluded that to continue working towards a single officer shared service with South Norfolk posed too many risks to them at this time, as well as limiting future options. But they remain willing to continue exploring service-by-service options together,' said a statement.

'The world of local government is in constant flux, with tough budget reductions coming in 2013/14. Sharing services is the only long-term way to reduce costs and duplication, and alongside more efficient working, produce the savings every local council must make to meet the huge challenges ahead.'

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Great Yarmouth Labour councillor Michael Castle said: 'I am pleased that common sense has prevailed on the dodgy merger with South Norfolk. It's a shame it took the powers that be so long to realise that it was a non-starter.'

Murray Gray, leader of the South Norfolk Liberal Democrat opposition, supported a service-by-service approach.

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'I think it's probably failed because South Norfolk has tried to force the pace too much and pushed Great Yarmouth in to places it didn't want to go,' he added.

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