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Unitary decision will be after election

PUBLISHED: 08:22 30 April 2010 | UPDATED: 10:06 02 July 2010

A judge's decision on whether the decision to grant Norwich unitary status was lawful will not be known until after the election.

A judge's decision on whether the decision to grant Norwich unitary status was lawful will not be known until after the election.

Plans to create a new unitary council for Norwich could yet be quashed in the courts - but all sides will have to wait until after the general election to find out.

Plans to create a new unitary council for Norwich could yet be quashed in the courts - but all sides will have to wait until after the general election to find out.

Norfolk County Council is challenging communities secretary John Denham's decision to create a new city unitary arguing that the government tore up its own rulebook when giving the green light to the city's home rule bid and failed to consult properly on the plans.

Lawyers for both the government and Norwich City Council said the issue was a matter for parliament and urged the judge not to overturn a parliamentary order setting up the new authority.

But High Court judge Mr Justice Ouseley said he would reserve judgment on the issue, but stressed his conclusions would not be reached until after May 6.

Work is already under way to create a new council which along with a new authority in Exeter should be up and running by next May and the case is likely to hinge on the degree to which the courts will decide it should get involved in the parliamentary process.

Supporters believe that since the case for a Norwich unitary has been determined by parliament the city should be allowed to get on with the job.

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