Councillor’s call for West Norfolk ‘home rule’ debate

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A West Norfolk councillor has called for a debate on whether the borough should break away from the rest of the county in the wake of the incinerator saga.

Independent Alexandra Kemp spoke out yesterday amid Norfolk County Council’s continuing reluctance to sell the proposed incinerator site to the borough council.

But others argue that the immediate future of the Saddlebow site has been secured following a council debate earlier this week.

Miss Kemp, who represents the Clenchwarton and Lynn South division, has repeatedly called for the land to be sold to West Norfolk Council in recent weeks.

She accused county leaders of “flunking” the chance to end the saga last week and fears the county authority may want to keep hold of the site until the fate of the planning application for the incinerator is finally resolved.

She said: “People are sick and tired of remote politicians, unelected bureaucrats and assorted pro-incinerator nimbies prolonging the agony and dictating to us in Lynn. Enough is enough.

“It’s time for a referendum for home rule for West Norfolk. If County can’t represent our interests, then we need a unitary based on the district.”

But Miss Kemp’s comments followed a county council debate on Tuesday, in which a motion was passed which barred officials from doing anything with the incinerator site until a new, formal waste policy is drawn up.

Conservative councillor John Dobson, who represents the Dersingham division, said there was “good evidence” to suggest that the site may have been included in the compensation package that the council is due to pay to Cory Wheelabrator for terminating the contract, unless they had acted.

Mr Dobson said anti-incinerator campaigners would have “snatched defeat from the jaws of victory” had that been allowed to happen.

He added: “I regard that as quite a triumph. We would have looked quite stupid if they slipped that through and (communities secretary) Eric Pickles grants planning permission.”

Any future recommendation for the use of the site will also have to go before the full council for a final decision.