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Parties battle over

PUBLISHED: 16:57 17 January 2008 | UPDATED: 10:18 03 July 2010

Laura Bagshaw

THE ruling Conservat-ive group on Great Yar-mouth Borough Council has refused to look at the “Yartoft” unitary authority option.

Labour councillors want the “Yartoft” option on the table, although the Tories are favouring a “Norfolk Coastal” scenario, covering Yarmouth to Hunstanton.

THE ruling Conservat-ive group on Great Yar-mouth Borough Council has refused to look at the “Yartoft” unitary authority option.

Labour councillors want the “Yartoft” option on the table, although the Tories are favouring a “Norfolk Coastal” scenario, covering Yarmouth to Hunstanton.

Norfolk is being encouraged by the government to scrap borough, district and county councils in favour of fewer, bigger unitary authorities.

And local authorities in the county are undergoing discussions and selecting which options they prefer.

But, “terms of reference” - ie required population sizes for the new authorities - have yet to be revealed by government.

And because there is still discussion going on, Yar-mouth's Labour councillors do not see why more debate cannot go ahead with the two options considered.

At last week's full council meeting, Labour leader Trevor Wainwright said there was “a lot of public support” for the Yartoft (Yarmouth and Waveney) option.

He said: “I can't see why the ruling party opposes this option and will only support the North Norfolk option with no consideration for anything else.”

But the deputy leader of the council, Tory Barry Stone, said: “We are not going to spend £200,000 looking at two options. It's this side of the chamber which is responsible for the public purse.”

During heated exchanges from both sides, Mr Wainwright said he had requested another meeting of the unitary working group but the Tories had refused.

Council leader Barry Coleman was quick on his feet to respond: “We have not had another meeting because at the last one it was decided it would be a waste of time to meet again until we have detailed terms of reference, and Labour agreed with that. We still don't have the terms of reference; that's why we have not had another meeting.”

And he added: “Treating the opposition with respect, they have their opinion and don't want to see anything else but a Yarmouth and Waveney option. Some people seem to think we can't have an opinion.”

Mr Coleman then questioned the public support issue raised by Labour.

He said: “No one in my area has supported it. The so-called claim for this case is from one political party alone. No other parties in Norfolk and Suffolk are supporting it.

“We can't understand why the Labour party does not want to discuss anything else and ridicules other councils in Norfolk by using phrases such as 'lumbered with', when referring to linking with them. I think that's condescending and if I was a member of those councils, I wouldn't like it.”

Labour councillor Mick Castle said: “We feel both options should be given the benefit of the doubt. We think the Yarmouth/Waveney option is very robust.”

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