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Cambridgeshire rejects Norfolk and Suffolk move to join forces in winning more powers from Westminster

09:53 25 January 2016

Local government Secretary Greg Clark

Local government Secretary Greg Clark

Archant

An overture from Norfolk and Suffolk to join forces to win more power from Westminster has been rejected by Cambridgeshire’s leaders.

Cambridgeshire County Council’s top brass have written to their neighbours in Norfolk and Suffolk telling them they will look at an informal partnership but they will not be part of a formal devolution bid to the government.

It comes despite suggestions from communities secretary Greg Clark and his advisor, Lord Heseltine, that leaders should look at the advantages of a three-county deal.

Norfolk and Suffolk County Councils submitted individual bids, but quickly joined forces in September after being told the county bids were not big enough and they should work together. Norfolk County Council leader George Nobbs said the decision by Cambridgeshire leaders not to be part of a combined authority left the two-county bid where it was before.

“There were one or two people who continually said that we could not proceed without approaching Cambridgeshire,” he added. “They wouldn’t listen to the fact that we knew Cambridgeshire wasn’t behind it, we made the approach in order to put this beyond question. We have their official answer.

“We are on course for our original plan for Norfolk and Suffolk. It would be nice to work with Cambridgeshire, we are fond of them, but it was never there.”

South Norfolk council leader John Fuller said under the devolution laws currently going through parliament the ministers would have powers to decide if devolution deals were adventurous enough. He expected the minister to take a view about whether Cambridgeshire was big enough to compete on the world stage.

“We will probably have to wait until the bill goes through parliament before the minister can express his opinion. To move more quickly than that would be risky,” he added.

A spokesman for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough’s leaders said: “Representatives from authorities across Cambridgeshire and Peter-borough held a workshop to look at what devolution could mean and the benefits this might bring.

“It was agreed that there were important shared areas, such as transport and infrastructure, that authorities would want to work much closely together on. It was suggested that further talks should be had to progress a shared memorandum of understanding. The councils will write to Suffolk and Norfolk inviting them to talk about closer working but not progressing combined authority at this time.”

Major bid to change face of town – Pages 18&19

14 comments

  • Norfolcia, as someone from West Norfolk I would be delighted if we were separated from the rest of Norfolk. We contribute the most in Council Tax and get the very least in return. NCC have little care for what goes on past the ring road, unless it's Yarmouth or Suffolk. As for this £130m cost of the incinerator figure that is being bandied around, you clearly know of much higher expenses than NCC are letting onto.

    Report this comment

    Honest John

    Thursday, January 28, 2016

  • I couldn't agree more with many of the comments so far. Who in their right minds would want to join up with NCC, which won the Private Eye 'Whitewash of the Year' award for 2015 over the handling of Children's Services, NCC has a track record of incompetence begun under White the CEO, who used to moonlight without permission for the NHS while being CEO, as £239 000 a year wasn't enough. Whole organisation is rotten to the core As for West Norfolk Council, after costing Norfolk NCC £130m and rising for helping to cancel the incinerator and with no permanent alternative in place except incinerating Norfolk's waste elsewhere Norfolk would function better without them. In a devolved relationship, Kings Lynn would be in with Wisbech and Peterborough. The latter becoming the HQ so expect hundreds of redundancies in Kings Lynn as local government is relocated 40 miles away.

    Report this comment

    Norfolcia

    Wednesday, January 27, 2016

  • The only ones that should get real power for a change are voters. At present our FPTP vote does not present us with a fair proportional local or national Government, we have no say at the machinations of top brass party politicians. Unless we get a fair voting system we can't stop the silliness of 'safe seats' and hereditary peers, whatever that means in a so called democracy. Cambridge, Suffolk and Norfolk cllrs do not want to cut and centralise their positions, they'd rather cut more services to the bone to keep their positions, expenses and triple hats.

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Wednesday, January 27, 2016

  • I've heard that a local whelk stall was approached by NCC to merge, the whelk stall said no chance NCC couldn't be trusted to run it

    Report this comment

    Ivor

    Tuesday, January 26, 2016

  • What on earth would a well run council like Cambridgeshire want to have closer links with the basket case that is NCC. The incinerator which has far more questions than answers in respect of how and why. A Children"s Services, whose reputation for governance makes Donald'Trump's policy on Muslims appear balanced and reasonable by comparison. Then of course there is County Farms, another scandal brewing of major proportions. Cambridgeshire , a good decision.

    Report this comment

    Little fish

    Monday, January 25, 2016

  • More power for NCC ? Giving their terrible record that is very worrying to say the least.

    Report this comment

    John L Norton

    Monday, January 25, 2016

  • This is very true. Cambridgeshire County Council have plans to reopen the railways to Haverhill and Wisbech plus build two new stations at Milton and Addenbrookes. They are also putting millions into regenerating places like Wisbech, not just spending all the money in Cambridge. Compare this with Norfolk who are doing absolutely nothing about new railways, and spend all the money on Norwich while places like Great Yarmouth fall into even more decay. The only money they wanted to spend in the West of their county was on the King's Lynn Incinerator!

    Report this comment

    Rotciv

    Monday, January 25, 2016

  • Cambridgeshire's interests are very well-represented in Westminster, if only by virtue of the percentage of MP's, Lords and civil servants who attended university there. A bloc-alliance with Norfolk and Suffolk would only serve to dilute the special status of the city and county in the minds and hearts of many in Westminster.

    Report this comment

    Michael Wisdom

    Monday, January 25, 2016

  • King's Lynn is now far more "connected" to Cambridge than Norwich, as that is where the real growth will come from. In addition, King's Lynn has terrible transport links with Norwich - no railway and the dreadful A47, whereas the ever-improving railway links with Cambridge and London. I see there is also a proposal for a King's Lynn to Peterborough rail link plus dualling of the A47 as part of the proposed Wisbech Garden Town expansion, so this will tie King's Lynn and West Norfolk more to Cambridgeshire than Norwich.

    Report this comment

    Citizen of EUSSR

    Monday, January 25, 2016

  • Rushall; If anyone from Cambridge went to Gt Yarmouth, Lowestoft & Ipswich you could understand completely why they wouldn't want to be anything like those towns that have been run down over the years. Norfolk & Suffolk is heading backwards, why should Cambridge?

    Report this comment

    Rob44

    Monday, January 25, 2016

  • The incinerator debate has re-ignited the historic claim Kings Lynn and West Norfolk has to civic independence and this should solidify this because it is of geographic necessity this area can be nimbly represented on cross-boundary fenland and water mangement decisions with Lincs,and others apart from Cambs.The power needs returning to the cities and towns in respect of history but of simple geography too.It makes absolute sense for West Norfolk to link with Suffolk and Cambs. with the status of a unitary aunthority. and with Lincs and those further north.The decisions affecting Lynn should be made in Lynn,not county hall,Norwich.

    Report this comment

    Peter Watson

    Monday, January 25, 2016

  • Well yes Rushall chap but with so much of north and east Cambridgeshire sharing a local economy with Norfolk and the same on the Suffolk borders, it really would have made sense. Cambridgeshire is a strange horse now that parts which were formerly Huntingdon and Northamptonshire are included in its boundaries-the far south of the county probably has less in common with the north than one would say of Norfolk. Would have been good to have East Anglia back as a real region and as a powerful one which just might have had a bit of clout. Dont forget Cambridgeshire struggles with funding for schools and roads etc in much the same way as Norfolk and Suffolk. As nice as it is, it is not all The William Gates building-Silicon Fen has some pretty cr*p infrastructure.

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Monday, January 25, 2016

  • Am I surprised by Cambridgeshire? Not really. They like to think that they are above everyone else. Still perhaps Norfolk and Suffolk should look to Essex to the south or even Lincolnshire to the north

    Report this comment

    manbythesea

    Monday, January 25, 2016

  • Good decision Cambridgeshire, it would be madness to formally tether yourself to the regressive Norfolk county council.

    Report this comment

    Rushallchap2

    Monday, January 25, 2016

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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