Summit called on the future of the Broads

The autumnal colours are caught in the early morning golden sunlight over the River Yare on the Norf

The autumnal colours are caught in the early morning golden sunlight over the River Yare on the Norfolk Broads, near Cantley. Hardley Windmill. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: copyright: Archant 2013

A summit has been called to discuss the future of the Broads and its governance.

Broadland MP Keith Simpson wants the Broads Authority to answer questions on the way it manages the waterways and to provide a platform for ideas on the next 10 to 15 years.

It has been a challenging 12 months for the organisation, which rebranded the area as Broads National Park – without legally becoming a national park – and is now involved in a High Court battle over that decision.

Broads Authority chief executive John Packman said it was in favour of consulting the public on a range of issues and would welcome a meeting of this kind.

While Mr Simpson said the round-table would not be a negative session about one specific group, he said issues such as direct elections to the authority – which Conservatives have said are off the cards – need to be discussed.

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'I am calling the meeting to see how we see the future of the Broads,' he said. 'It's not about bashing the Broads Authority but an opportunity for councillors, the Broads Authority, MPs from Norfolk and Suffolk, those from the navigation community and wildlife lobby groups to come together on neutral ground.

'Issues could include how we should represent the local community on the Broads Authority and the remit of the Broads Authority; how you get a balance between working and living on the Broads with tourism.'

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The Broads Authority is among many others preparing itself for spending cuts as Defra faces savings of up to 40pc in the coming spending review. It is hoped that Defra minister and South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss will attend the summit meeting.

Do you have a Broads story? Call Rosa McMahon on 01603 772453.

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