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Council leader attacks boundary plan

PUBLISHED: 17:18 10 December 2009 | UPDATED: 15:54 03 July 2010

A MOVE to create a single authority for Norfolk that would spell the end for Great Yarmouth Borough Council has been tagged an expense and democratic waste of time by its leader.

A MOVE to create a single authority for Norfolk that would spell the end for Great Yarmouth Borough Council has been tagged an expense and democratic waste of time by its leader.

The independent Boundary Committee recommended on Monday that Norfolk would be best served a single super council, signalling the end for borough and district authorities.

The committee was persuaded by the argument that it would create cost savings of up to £25m a year under a shake-up that would see Great Yarmouth Borough Council abolished in 2011.

Council leader Barry Coleman described the move as an expensive and undemocratic waste of time, adding: “We don't know if it will occur, and we've seen many changes this few months. I'm not changing our policies and I'm sure there will be more twists in this tale.”

Local councils and stakeholders now have six weeks to voice their opinions before a final decision on whether the unitary council goes ahead is made by the government.

Conservative councillor Mr Coleman also added that his party has publicly stated that it would not go through with the reorganisation if it won the next general election.

“It would be costly to implement and a waste of resources. Quite a large quantity of the savings can be made with the changes that we are currently making and the idea of a county of a million people being governed by a local authority is impossibly undemocratic.”

However, the leader of the Labour group Michael Castle attacked what he viewed as the Conservatives' head in the sand attitude.

“We have to work not from where we would like to be but where we are now, unlike the Tories, who hope it will go away.

“Even though we would have preferred to have a Yarmouth and Lowestoft or Yarmouth and Norwich council, we will be engaging with the process and have to work on the basis that there is a good chance it could happen.

“We've got to keep some kind of local decision making and we

need to put some kind of a case

for the council, which is why we made a submission in May indicating what we wanted safeguarded in the area.”

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