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Chance of two town councils

PUBLISHED: 09:03 09 January 2009 | UPDATED: 12:44 03 July 2010

Laura Bagshaw

GREAT Yarmouth and Gorleston could have separate town councils when the planned shake-up in local government is announced.

Proposals set out by the Boundary Committee will see the current two-tier structure of district and county councils scrapped in favour of one-size-fits all unitary authorities.

GREAT Yarmouth and Gorleston could have separate town councils when the planned shake-up in local government is announced.

Proposals set out by the Boundary Committee will see the current two-tier structure of district and county councils scrapped in favour of one-size-fits all unitary authorities.

February 13 sees the deadline

for submissions of evidence on

the shake-up when residents will be one step closer to learning how they will be governed.

The three options on the table are:

A super-council for Norfolk.

A “wedge-shaped” authority covering Yarmouth, Lowestoft and Norwich, and

A “doughnut” option of a greater Norwich council and one for the rest of Norfolk.

A final decision by the

secretary of state is expected in the spring but whatever option is chosen a new form of local representation will be established, possibly in the form of town councils.

However, while there is cross-party agreement in Yarmouth in support of the “wedge” option, the Conservative and Labour parties differ on how local people's

views will be represented in the future.

Borough council leader Barry Coleman said further consultation was needed in how these new councils would work and what form they would take.

He said: “It takes away a tier

of government so you will be

left with a unitary authority

and the parish councils. I can't

see how it would function

without town councils for the urban areas, certainly you could have one for Yarmouth and Gorleston.”

Existing parish councils will operate as usual and Mr Coleman was critical of the idea of giving parish councils additional powers, believing councils would not have time or resources to deal with additional issues.

He said neighbourhood management groups - such as Comeunity, which is being trialled in south Yarmouth - could also be a way forward.

“It is a simple concept but difficult to put in place. It attempts to get all services which provide to the community together,” said Mr Coleman.

Labour leader Mick Castle said his party was opposed to creating town councils for Yarmouth and Gorleston, instead favouring

area committees which could tackle issues and include other agencies such as the police and fire service.

Mr Castle explained that if

the super council option

was adopted, every single patch

of the county would be covered

by town or parish

councils, something he believed would be unworkable in urban areas such as Yarmouth and Norwich.

He said Yarmouth was totally different to other areas in the county and could only benefit

from some kind of local representation.

“If you totally devolve to

little parish councils, interest

in Yarmouth will be

threatened. The county vision for Yarmouth is different from our own.”

What do you think? Write to

the Mercury, 169 King Street, Great Yarmouth, NR30 2PA, or email anne.edwards@archant.

co.uk.


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