King’s Lynn committee powers ‘should be reviewed’, says councillor

West Norfolk Council's offices (left)
West Norfolk Council's offices (left)
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Council chiefs have been urged to look again at the powers of the body they set up to examine Lynn issues.

The town’s area consultative committee was established on a trial basis in 2013, in a bid to ensure greater local representation in areas where there is no town or parish council.

The body’s remit was renewed for another four years ahead of the council elections last spring.

But, speaking during the committee’s latest meeting on Monday, Labour group leader John Collop renewed calls for the group to be given greater powers.

He said the ruling Conservative administration should say indicate whether the committee was felt to be fulfilling its remit and whether its work should be expanded or not.

He said: “I have a concern that we sit here and discuss things but we can’t actually make decisions.

“A lot of money is raised in King’s Lynn on special expenses. We have no say on how much is raised, or where it’s spent, so I think we want another discussion with the administration to see if there is a way forward.”

Committee chairman Andy Tyler said the desire for additional powers had been acknowledged by the Tory administration and was being looked at.

But Conservative Patrick Rochford said the committee was already able to make recommendations on a number of areas, including planning.

He asked: “Do you feel we’re toothless?”

And Mr Collop’s Labour colleague, Charles Joyce, pointed out that the long-proposed idea of a separate town council for Lynn had not become reality even when Labour were in governmnent nationally and controlled the borough authority.

He said the current council leader, Nick Daubney, had been a staunch supporter of unsuccessful attempts to establish a parish council in West Lynn.

He added: “People have tried but it’s getting it done thats the difficulty. It takes a lot of work and a lot of co-operation.”

But Mr Collop said: “It was originally set up as a working group and it was agreed to set this up on the basis of see how this functions.

“I think we’ve reached the point now where we need to have a look at it and it should be discussed.”

Mr Rochford also suggested that a review of the committee’s remit should examine the geographical area it covers, pointing out that the Woottons are currently unrepresented on it.

Mr Collop maintained they should not be included, as they already have their own parish authorities.

However, Thomas Smith wondered whether that may now be “an anachronism”, because of how the villages had effectively become suburbs of Lynn over time.