I was at the well publicised meeting of senior Norfolk Conservatives yesterday discussing a response to the failed City Council unitary bid. The government has let it be known that they now favour a series of unitary councils across Norfolk and an enlarged Norwich unitary would solve the twin problems of value-for-money and affordability in the original bid. Such obvious politicing makes rational debate very difficult but we have been assured that Ministers haven't made up their minds and that the Treasury is still very worried about the Norwich bid, even when enlarged. Now the Greens have gone against an enlarged unitary and I understand the LibDems are a bit limp too (no change there then!)
The meeting was totally united behind fighting for the status quo which has given us a 4* county council and some superb Conservative controlled districts. I still feel that Norwich should start by putitng its own house in order before trying this power grab.
Not only are there still the financial concerns - with a Unitary you pay more and get less - but now we understand that Labour's own advisor has said that unitary's never pay form themselves. Plus this 3 unitary solution does seem a rather naive plan to undermine the county of Norfolk. We are stronger together than we are apart.
I am from Norwich and I live in Norwich City Council. I am from Norfolk and I live in Norfolk County Council. Each council offers me the services appropriate to its size and functions. Easy. I am not part of some unitary blob that may or may not run from Taverham to Trowse or even Horsford to Long Stratton. How do these random coloured lines on a map compare to our historic counties? No wonder some people are calling this a campaign to Save Norfolk.
The Conservatives are now clear and united on this - unlike Labour and the LibDems. We must harness the people power in Norfolk to stop this plan to split our county.
Given the unitary fight is now between the Labour and LibDems politicos at City Hall versus the people of Norfolk, I know who'd I would put money on.
This bid isn't inevitable or a fait accompli. It's far from that - the people will make sure of it.