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Council boss willing to take voluntary redundancy if Yarmouth merger goes ahead

PUBLISHED: 09:23 17 February 2012

File pic of Yarmouth Town Hall from the river

File pic of Yarmouth Town Hall from the river

Archant © 2011

THE borough council's chief executive - who is paid around £105,000 per year - says he would be willing to take voluntary redundancy if plans to merge management with authorities in Dereham and Spalding go ahead.

Cost-cutting proposals to create a single senior management team with Breckland and South Holland district councils - based respectively around Dereham and Spalding, Lincolnshire - could save Yarmouth £140,000 each year.

But redundancies among the borough council’s six-strong senior management team would be likely, and chief executive Richard Packham says he would leave if proposals are approved.

Mr Packham has been Yarmouth borough council’s chief executive for more than 18 years.

A borough council spokesman said: “As part of the proposed shared management arrangements, a chief executive post solely for Great Yarmouth Borough Council would become redundant.

“The chief executive has indicated to the council that, in those circumstances, he would be willing to accept voluntary redundancy.”

Yarmouth’s council is likely to be managed by a chief executive in Lincolnshire if plans go ahead.

But bosses have reassured the public that control over Yarmouth decisions would stay in Yarmouth, and there would be no change to important services like bin collection, conservation and planning.

Borough council leader Steve Ames said: “I don’t want any scare-mongering on the sharing of services.

“Every service will continue exactly as it is at the minute - operated by frontline staff.

“And if something comes out from government as a policy decision, will it be better to have three people looking at it and racking up three lots of expenses or have one person looking at it on behalf of three authorities?”

South Holland’s chief executive Terry Huggins was given control of Breckland in September 2011, and is likely to take responsibility for Yarmouth if proposals are approved.

Council reports which show detail of the proposed management structure will not be made public until February 29.

For the merger and associated redundancies to go ahead, all three councils must agree to the proposals.

Cabinet members in Great Yarmouth and Breckland have already agreed to the measures in principal, and they will go before South Holland’s cabinet on February 28.

If the proposal clears each cabinet meeting, they face a final vote at each authority’s full council meeting - scheduled on March 7, 8 and 9.

Great Yarmouth Borough Council’s special council meeting will be on Wednesday, March 8.

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