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Review into future of Norwich

PUBLISHED: 08:54 29 April 2010 | UPDATED: 10:05 02 July 2010

Ministers have been accused of tearing up their own rule book when deciding to award home rule for Norwich

Ministers have been accused of tearing up their own rule book when deciding to award home rule for Norwich

Shaun Lowthorpe

Ministers have been accused of tearing up their own rule book when deciding to award home rule for Norwich in a decision which was dubbed "all for show" and had no chance of success.

Ministers have been accused of tearing up their own rule book when deciding to award home rule for Norwich in a decision which was dubbed “all for show” and had no chance of success.

The future of council services in Norfolk and Norwich hangs on a knife edge as a high court judge considers whether to allow a judicial review in to the decision by communities secretary John Denham to create a new one-size-fits-all council for Norwich.

In making his decision earlier this year, Mr Denham rejected advice by the independent Boundary Committee which favoured creating a single authority for the whole of Norfolk and also overruled concerns about a city unitary from his senior civil servant Peter Housden on affordability and value for money grounds.

Yesterday lawyers for Norfolk County Council accused the government of shifting the goal posts over its decision and the way it carried out a consultation in to its proposals saying there was “legitimate expectation” that the government's decision would be based on its own five criteria set out by former local government secretary Ruth Kelly in 2007 including that it should be affordable and deliver value for money.

They also argued the decision was pre-determined in favour of Norwich and said ministers were refusing to release letters showing that the government had pressed ahead with laying an order to create a new city council as a political act to please their own supporters, despite believing it stood little chance of success.

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