Plea to end deadlock on West Norfolk village homes renumbering proposal
If you’ve ever struggled to find the right house, then imagine the confusion when two homes in the same street have the same number.
But that’s exactly the scenario faced by residents and visitors in the village of Flitcham, where community leaders have called for the current deadlock over plans to renumber homes to finally be settled.
And West Norfolk Council says it is considering new options after it was accused, by one of its members, of applying a “perverse” form of democracy to the issue.
Proposals to give homes in the village new numbers have been on the table for at least a year, amid concerns that the current system is confusing for visitors such as delivery drivers and emergency crews.
In one instance, it is claimed that a neighbour had to chase an ambulance whose crew had been unable to find the house they were looking for.
But while officials acknowledge opinion among residents is divided, the main stumbling block appears to be how the referendum to decide whether the plan goes ahead or not is conducted.
Until now, the borough council has been proposing a model where residents who do not express a view either way are deemed to be in favour of the proposal proceeding.
That position is thought to be legally permissible under legislation dating back to the early 1900s.
But the village’s borough council representative, Jim Moriarty, slammed it as a “perverse understanding of democracy”.
He said: “I have been trying for nearly a year to get officers and cabinet members to simply agree that the system for this referendum on renumbering should be that ‘only votes cast are counted’, but they seem stubbornly wedded to their corrupt version of democracy which weighs so heavily in their favour.
“Frankly, I am fed up with apologising to this Parish Council month after month after month.”
Meanwhile, the parish council believes a referendum “needs to take place soon”.
A spokesman said: “The numbering throughout the whole village is completely haphazard with some duplications of numbers in the same road.”
A borough council spokesman said: “In the past when dealing with the re-numbering of existing streets we have taken a non-response as in favour.
“However, as part of dealing with the potential renumbering process in Flitcham there has been a need to review how we deal with the re-numbering of existing streets.
“The re-numbering in Flitcham is currently on hold, the review is ongoing and discussions are taking place with the portfolio holder.
“The proposed new process is likely to be different to the current one.”