The plans submitted by Norwich City Council are wrong and actually reckless in their disregard for local communities, local democracy and financial probity.
Firstly, Norwich's bid is non compliant. Why ? Because they intend swallowing up parts of neighbouring Broadland and South Norfolk Council's. This is expressly precluded form any bid for Unitary Status, but already the government have said they will consider the bid. Why ? Is it because Norwich is currently Labour run or simply because this government has a flagrant disregard for its own rules.
Secondly, not a single "fringe parish" has accepted the need to be move in to Norwich. Indeed, all those parishes seem to be almost violently against the proposal. let me give you an example why.
In the case of Horsford, the village in which I was brought up, there is nobody yearning to be part of Norwich. They like their twin bin collection system (introduced in 1991, but something Norwich still does not have), and they like having their local schools which attract children from other villages too. However, if the plans go ahead, children living in Felthorpe, the next village, who go to school in Horsford, will no longer be able to because Felthorpe will be in a different education authority. Presumably some children will be totally uprooted and removed form the school if this goes ahead. What a disgrace.
Finally, unitary statues is, according to the government's own rules, supposed to pay for itself in five years. What the government do not mention is the cost to other councils. If Norwich take the fringe parishes from Broadland, Broadland will be attached to North Norfolk. North Norfolk will gain a large number of rural villages where it costs more to provide services. So North Norfolk's cost will go up exponentially. Do the government take notice of this ?
The thing that disappoints me most about this whole process has been the way that the Norwich City Council Liberal Democrat have got sucked in to supporting this crazy proposal. I know they want to be seen as supporting Norwich, but I'm not even sure that Norwich people support the proposal. I'd like to see the Liberal Democrats consulting more with people, using the local elections to see if Norwich people want the expense that will go with a separate Unitary Authority. Working in Norwich, I can tell you that people I know who live in the City really couldn't give a damn about unitary status. However, in Broadland, people are worried. The Liberal Democrats in Norwich appear from here in Broadland, to have fought Norwich's case, but perhaps at the expense of the rest of Norfolk by supporting the undemocratic and unfair unitary proposal.