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Judges reserve decision on unitary plan

PUBLISHED: 18:12 20 February 2009 | UPDATED: 22:34 05 July 2010

Councils in Norfolk and Suffolk face an anxious wait to see if judges will throw out proposals to overhaul local government.

Three councils - Breckland, South Norfolk, and King's Lynn and West Norfolk - launched a legal challenge in the Appeal Court to the process followed by the Boundary Committee to determine the future shape of councils.

Councils in Norfolk and Suffolk face an anxious wait to see if judges will throw out proposals to overhaul local government.

Three councils - Breckland, South Norfolk and West Norfolk - launched a legal challenge in the Appeal Court to the process followed by the Boundary Committee to determine the future shape of councils.

After a three-day hearing, top judges Sir Anthony May, Lord Justice Dyson and Lord Justice Richards have reserved their decision on the councils' challenge.

However, the judges are unlikely to delay long before giving their ruling as the whole timing of the restructuring process is on a knife's edge - with ministers expecting a final recommendation on July 15.

The councils argued the consultation was flawed because it did not look at the affordability of the proposals and the committee had "simply shut its mind" to the merits of retaining the county's existing "two-tier" system of district and county councils.

But lawyers representing the Boundary Committee argued the consultation process was both adequate and lawful and that there was no obligation to consider the advantages of retaining the status quo.

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