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Eight Norfolk councils say 'no' to unitary authority in letter to MPs

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Eight councils in Norfolk have spoken as one to tell MPs that working closer together is better than creating a unitary authority.

The letter addressed to Norfolk MPs has been signed by all leaders of the eight councils - including the leader of South Norfolk, John Fuller.

John Fuller, leader of South Norfolk Council. Submitted picture. (3143646)
John Fuller, leader of South Norfolk Council. Submitted picture. (3143646)

It comes in response to nation debate on whether council restructuring may be an option to help solve financial and organisation challenges faced by the authorities.

The letter by the leaders said: "As leaders, we don't think a unitary authority is the solution needed nor the time to do it.

"All of us have unanimously agreed that restructuring local authorities will not provide a solution to the financial challenge we face nor will it provide the leadership the county needs.

"We have all taken soundings from our political groups, and this view is strongly held amongst elected members of majority Conservative and Labour groups.

"We do see the need for change, and the opportunities for greater efficiencies, but we believe that more practical solutions lie in us working better together."

The leaders added they recognised a single authority could bring the benefits of a "slimmer governance and management", but argued the change would "take years and cost far more money than it saves".

Currently, the counties of Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Dorset, Northamptonshire are run under a unitary authority.

Commenting on the letter, John Fuller said: "Councils already have their hands full with issues such as infrastructure and finances.

"The last thing we need is restructuring. However, that doesn't mean we shouldn't work more closely.

"Working together avoids the high costs of a unitary authority and also keep councils at a scale that people can recognise."

Last month, councillors of South Norfolk Council and Broadland District Council voted for closer working.

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