‘Don’t break up this community’, pleads councillor over West Norfolk boundary review

GV of  the Borough Council of King's Lynn & West Norfolk, King's Court Hq, Chapel Street King's Lynn
GV of the Borough Council of King's Lynn & West Norfolk, King's Court Hq, Chapel Street King's Lynn

A group of West Norfolk villages would have their community split if council boundary reform proposals get the go-ahead, their representative has warned

The plea was made on behalf of Roydon, Congham, Grimston and Pott Row as borough council chiefs examined plans to reduce the authority’s membership from 62 to 54.

The proposals developed by a council task group would see Roydon included in the South Wootton ward, while the other three villages

But the area’s current councillor, Susan Fraser, called for a rethink during a special cabinet meeting on the issue on Wednesday.

She said she had been “pilloried” by the area’s parish councils over the issue and sympathised with their views.

She said: “By doing this, what you’re doing is splitting a community. They see themselves as part of a community.

“To split them and put Roydon with South Wootton, which they would class as an urban area, won’t sit well with them.”

Roydon’s parish council also submitted a separate letter expressing its concern over the issue.

Council leader Brian Long urged them to submit their comments to the Local Government Boundary Commission for England, who will consider proposals for the new boundaries over the coming months.

But he pointed out that they are separate villages, with their own parish authorities , and the trask group had only sought not to split parishes across ward boundaries.

Chief executive Ray Harding added: “We fully recognise this is not a perfect solution. The difficulty is each time you try to make a change, it has a knock-on effect and it makes it very difficult to do.”

But the issue will be looked at, along with a call from development portfolio holder Richard Blunt for the Walpoles parish to be placed in a ward with West Walton and Walsoken, rather than divided between it and the new Terringtons ward.

Conservative backbencher David Pope was also critical of what he saw as the insufficient time, a total of two-and-three-quarter hours, taken by the task group to consider the issues.

He said: “We have panel meetings longer than that. It’s taken 20 years to do something about the riverfront and we’re sorting the future of West Norfolk in two-and-three-quarter hours. I don’t think there’s been enough consultation.”

But Mr Long said there had been briefings and training sessions for each of the council’s political groups.

A special full council meeting is now scheduled for August 31 to finalise the authority’s submission to the commission.

The authority, other interested parties and residents have until September 4 to submit their own reform proposals.

The commission is expected to finalise its own recommendations by next spring and the new boundaries are expected to be in place in tim e for the next borough elections in 2019.