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Community projects could be hit because of burner bill, claims leader

Andrew Proctor, leader of Broadland District Council.

Andrew Proctor, leader of Broadland District Council.

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Community projects in Broadland could be hit hard if Norfolk County Council votes to withhold second homes council tax cash to pay off its incinerator debt today, it has been claimed.

The county council’s cabinet will today discuss a proposal to cut the £1.04m it pays to district and borough councils from the tax, in a bid to plug the hole in its finances caused by its £30m bill for terminating the King’s Lynn waste incinerator contract.

The cabinet will decide whether to take away some of that money or whether to cut spending on road maintenance and library books.

And Andrew Proctor, leader of Broadland District Council has joined the protests against the proposal, with the authority currently using around £100,000 it gets for grants to community projects.

Mr Proctor said: “It is disappointing that the second homes proposal was not discussed with the district council before the news was made public.

“The loss of any of this income will impact on the local community of Broadland, who have been receiving this funding as part of our community grant programme and have a direct impact on our partner agencies.

“It is equally disappointing that the district council is being asked to bail out the county’s financial problem when the issue is not one that involves Broadland.”

North Norfolk District Council, King’s Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council and Breckland District Council have joined the growing swell of protest at the prospect.

County council leader George Nobbs has said the final decision would rest with the county council and if the money is taken away from district councils the amounts removed would be “proportionate”.

He said: “Nobody wanted to have to find this money and we always warned this process would not be without pain.
“Our finance team has done its very best to minimise the direct impact on services for Norfolk people. However, no matter how much we have tried to minimise the impact, it would be foolish to pretend that there won’t be some cuts that will hurt.”

Through the second homes council tax scheme, Broadland currently gets £103.629, Norwich £81,869, Great Yarmouth £110,500, West Norfolk Council £782,000; North Norfolk Council £934,664; Breckland £117,118 and South Norfolk £137,409.

The county council voted last month to pull the plug on the contract with Cory Wheelabrator to build and run the incinerator.

• Do you have a story about a local council? Email reporter Dan Grimmer at dan.grimmer@archant.co.uk

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