Unitary plans to be axed

Work to scrap a controversial shake-up in Norfolk is set to start in earnest today as the government prepares to detail how it will kill off plans to create a new unitary for Norwich.

Work to scrap a controversial shake-up in Norfolk is set to start in earnest today as the government prepares to detail how it will kill off plans to create a new unitary for Norwich.

The writing has been on the wall for the city unitary plans since the formation of the new coalition government, but the pledges were made good in yesterday's Queen's Speech detailing plans for a local government bill to revoke the previous Labour government's plans to create unitary councils in Exeter, Norwich and Suffolk.

The move is a bitter blow for City Hall, which had seen its long held unitary dream finally pass in to law in the last parliament, only to see its unpicking earmarked as a top priority for the new government and incoming communities secretary Eric Pickles.

Instead the government plans to hand more powers to existing councils including scrapping regional housing targets.

Technically the unitary plans will still progress until laws come in to place to stop them. But the proposed bill means that the game is up for a process which has cost council taxpayers in Norfolk millions of pounds.

Derrick Murphy, deputy leader of Norfolk County Council, welcomed the government's commitment and said it was time to move on.