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Norfolk boundary review delayed by five years due to crisis

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Plans to redraw Norfolk’s map of electoral boundaries are set to be shelved for five years due to the coronavirus outbreak.

A shake-up of the county council’s wards was under consultation when the pandemic struck – and is now set to be implemented in 2025.

The Local Government Boundary Commission for England’s review has been paused after the crisis put a stop to “effective consultation” and is currently expected to resume in July, meaning the map will not be redrawn before the 2021 elections.

Steve Morphew said he was disappointed that the council’s work up to this point had been wasted.
Steve Morphew said he was disappointed that the council’s work up to this point had been wasted.

In a statement, the commission said: “This review has been paused while we consider how to carry out effective consultations.

“Our current expectation is that the publication of the draft recommendations will be delayed until we can be confident that we can consult in ways that enable appropriate input from all local stakeholders.

“We do not anticipate that we will be able to do this before July 2020 and, therefore, expect that the implementation date will be 2025, not 2021.”

The review aimed to ensure all councillors represented a roughly equal number of voters and there were no plans to alter the number of councillors from 84.

Labour leader Steve Morphew said he was “disappointed” that work on the proposals had been wasted.

“It was based around population numbers, so the balance could look different in five years,” he said.

“We’re disappointed that all that work has gone to waste and that they’ll have to redo it before 2021.”

Liberal Democrat group leader Steffan Aquarone said he welcomed the delay.

He said: “I’m relieved because some of the proposals were going to carve up my community.

“That’s not just a matter of personal inconvenience. There is a huge variety of communities – town, country and coast – and to chop things up without any regard to the differences would be wrong, in my opinion,” he added.

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