The Boundary Committee has accepted a request to provide advice to the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) on the bids for unitary government in Exeter, Ipswich and Norwich.
Norwich City Council made a bid to the DCLG in early 2007 to become a unitary authority. The DCLG felt the proposal would not meet all of the five criteria, set out in the original invitation, in its present form. It has requested that the Boundary Committee look at local government structures and to advise whether, for the City of Norwich and the remaining Norfolk county area, there could be alternative unitary authority solutions which may involve changes to local authority boundaries.
As well as requesting advice on Norfolk, the DCLG has also requested advice on whether there could be a unitary option that includes Great Yarmouth in Norfolk with Waveney in Suffolk. The local government structures in Norfolk and Suffolk will therefore be considered as part of the same review.
This review is expected to begin this March and the Secretary of State has requested that the advice be provided by 31 December 2008.
The review will include public consultation to allow local people to have their say on the draft proposals. Full details of how to pass your views to the Boundary Committee will be published in due course.
It will be for the Committee to decide whether to make an alternative proposal to the Secretary of State, who will then decide whether or not to implement the proposal.
Max Caller, Chair of the Boundary Committee for England, said: “We are keen that all local authorities and local stakeholders are engaged in this review and we will be visiting all three counties to discuss the review process and likely timescales. We greatly appreciate all the work Norfolk local authorities undertook toward the end of 2007. None of this work is wasted and will be utilised once the Norfolk review starts. We will also be actively involving local people in the review and look forward to hearing their views on the proposals put forward”
Sarah Garrett on 020 7271 0704
outside office hours: 07789 920414
1. The Boundary Committee for England is responsible for reviewing local authority electoral arrangements, e.g. defining boundaries for local elections and the number of councillors to be elected, and for conducting reviews of local government external boundaries and structure.
2. The Committee’s last structural reviews took place in 2003/04 in Northumberland, Co Durham, North Yorkshire, Cumbria, Lancashire and Cheshire in advance of a referendum on elected regional assemblies.
3. Sixteen bids to become a Unitary Authority were made to the DCLG in early 2007. Seven of these are proceeding, six were rejected and three have been referred to the Boundary Committee for England for advice.
4. The power for the Secretary of State to request the Boundary Committee for advice is contained in Clause 5 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007.