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Labour opts for 'wedge' authority

PUBLISHED: 13:21 01 September 2008 | UPDATED: 21:10 05 July 2010

Labour councillors have backed proposals to join Norwich, Lowestoft and Yarmouth in a unitary "wedge" authority.

Leaders of Labour groups across Norfolk and Suffolk have announced that they will give their support to plans for a unitary council taking in Lowestoft, Yarmouth, greater Norwich and Acle in a bid to stop the creation of a Norfolk council.

Labour councillors have backed proposals to join Norwich, Lowestoft and Yarmouth in a unitary “wedge” authority.

Leaders of Labour groups across Norfolk and Suffolk have announced that they will give their support to plans for a unitary council taking in Lowestoft, Yarmouth, greater Norwich and Acle in a bid to stop the creation of a Norfolk council.

The Boundary Committee for England has been charged with reviewing local government in Suffolk and Norfolk and has proposed forming a Norfolk unitary council, including Lowestoft.

But Labour councillors last night slammed the proposals and said that since their own suggestions for Yartoft and Greater Norwich unitary councils had been shelved, a wedge council linking the maritime coast with Norwich should be considered.

Mick Castle, leader of the Yarmouth Labour group, said: “We're heartened that the committee has recognised that Lowestoft and Yarmouth are linked economically and industrially, but if we can't have a council joining the two towns on their own then we will opt for something similar with Norwich.

“There is a sense of synergy between the three places - they share an airport and are joined by the Broads. It is an area which is economically and industrially quite different to the county's more rural areas. The Norwich city and maritime option would be more cost- effective than a single Norfolk council with Lowestoft.”

Tory-led Waveney District Council - which has always opposed plans for a cross-border Yarmouth and Lowestoft council - announced last week that it would be supporting proposals for an East Suffolk unitary authority to avoid Lowestoft being governed by a new Norfolk council.

Mr Castle said the county's Labour groups would be drawing up their official submission this week to send to the Boundary Committee.

The public can have their say on the committee's plans until September 26, with a final decision by the government expected in February.

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