Bungay asked to voice Yartoft concerns

THE people of Bungay were urged this week to show their opposition to proposals for Waveney District Council to join Great Yarmouth Borough Council in a new unitary authority.

THE people of Bungay were urged this week to show their opposition to proposals for Waveney District Council to join Great Yarmouth Borough Council in a new unitary authority.

It is one option being looked at, but Waveney's leader Mark Bee has warned that it could mean the whole of Waveney going within the Norfolk boundary and out of Suffolk if it came about.

As reported last week, he has set up a website, Residents Against Yartoft, on which people have the opportunity to make their views know, and at Bungay Town Council's meeting on Monday one of the town's district councillors, Simon Woods, urged them to do that.

“The website has a petition against Yartoft, and I would encourage everyone to put their form in against it,” he said.

This week reaction from Journal readers has been mixed, with some for and some against the idea (see letters, page eight).

Meanwhile, Waveney announced it had forged a link with another Suffolk authority, Suffolk Coastal District Council, and has appointed Stephen Baker as joint chief executive.

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And in another move the Waveney Green Party has supported the idea of Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth forming a unitary authority, but without rural Waveney and the market towns of Beccles, Bungay, Halesworth and Southwold.

They should go in with a Suffolk coastal unitary authority, it said.

Graham Elliott, who represents

the Green Party on Waveney District Council, said it supported the principle of unitary authorities throughout Norfolk and Suffolk.

“We support councils that work as locally as possible and favour smaller, more accountable councils without the confusion generated by the current two-tier system,” he said.

“With this in mind, Waveney Green Party has expressed its support for the formation of a single unitary authority for Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft, the so-called “Yartoft” option.

“But this support is not for the version of “Yartoft” currently being discussed as we wish to exclude rural Waveney.”

He said the name Yartoft implied Yarmouth and Lowestoft, not Yarmouth and Waveney.

“Rural Waveney, including the four market towns, would not fit in well with such an authority and

should become part of a coastal Suffolk unitary authority,” Mr Elliott said.

“There has been much talk about parts of Waveney leaving Suffolk but this is a red herring.

“If unitary authorities are created both Norfolk and Suffolk would cease to exist as administrative areas but they would survive for a wide range of ceremonial, cultural and sporting purposes.

“The market towns of Waveney will stay part of Suffolk long after Suffolk County Council is dissolved.”

He said the suggestion that a Yarmouth and Lowestoft authority would take local decision making further away from the people was not accurate as most of the important decisions for the two areas were currently taken in either Norwich or Ipswich.

The creation of a relatively small unitary council such as Yartoft would actually bring decision-making closer to the people and it would be easier for the people to understand the council's working, as it would be responsible for all local services.

“It is about time local politicians stopped looking at what is best for themselves and concentrate on getting a local, efficient, accountable and easily understood system of

local government in place,” Mr Elliott said.

Waveney MP Bob Blizzard, who supports the Yartoft proposals, said this week it would not mean county boundaries would have to be changed to accommodate it.