Communities secretary Sajid Javid is set to take Norfolk and Suffolk’s devolution deal off the table after Kings Lynn & West Norfolk BC voted against the proposals.
The council voted 44 against and 14 in favour of the deal, which included a requirement for the region to adopt a directly elected mayor, at a meeting last night.
It is a government requirement that every council involved in the public consultation on the deal has to agree to the proposals in order for it to go ahead. LGC understands the Department for Communities & Local Government are in the process of withdrawing the offer.
Norfolk CC was due to vote on the proposals on Monday but that meeting has been cancelled today.
The Norfolk and Suffolk deal included an investment fund worth £750m over 30 years, an additional £130m over five years to fund the development of 10,000 new homes plus control over funding for transport and skills.
Speaking to LGC earlier today Kings Lynn & West Norfolk’s leader Brian Long (Con), who supported the deal, said: “It [the vote] should technically mean that the deal falls. I’m bitterly disappointed about it.”
Cllr Long thought local Tory MP Sir Henry Bellingham’s “interference” had played “a big part” in persuading people to vote against the proposals.
Cllr Long said Sir Henry (North West Norfolk) told councillors on the morning of the vote he was “adamant” the region would be offered a “similar deal” without a directly elected mayor.
“I absolutely hope he can deliver on that promise he has made,” said Cllr Long. “I personally think MPs should have nothing at all to do with this – it should’ve been a decision for councillors. It wasn’t a vote for MPs to have.
“They shouldn’t have interfered with the process but I do think he [Sir Henry] interfered.
“If he comes good on this promise then that may be all the better.”
LGC had not been able to make contact Sir Henry for comment at the time of publication.