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Norfolk village boundary change could be dropped after residents’ backlash against paying more council tax

PUBLISHED: 10:43 30 November 2017 | UPDATED: 10:43 30 November 2017

South Norfolk Council. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY

South Norfolk Council. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY

Archant

A backlash against changing a village boundary to make it part of a Norfolk town could result in the plan being dropped.

The proposed changes to the boundary between Roydon and Diss. Picture: South Norfolk Council The proposed changes to the boundary between Roydon and Diss. Picture: South Norfolk Council

South Norfolk Council’s electoral arrangements review committee objected to the plan to include areas of Roydon with nearby Diss on the grounds that it would not reflect the views of the community.

South Norfolk Council received 482 responses from residents opposing the proposal, along with four petitions containing a combined total of 240 signatures.

Roydon Parish Council also spoke out against it after many people complained it would have led to a rise in council tax, as Roydon residents would have paid a different level as part of the Diss parish.

Diss residents, by contrast, would have seen their council tax fall, because more people wuld have being paying towards town council services.

At a meeting on Wednesday, October 29, the committee voted against the bid but supported adding an extra town councillor to Diss Town Council.

Diss Town Council clerk Deborah Sarson spoke in favour of the plan and told the committee: “Diss Town Council provides local services for the benefit of many surrounding parishes.”

The Mere, sports ground and Diss Carnival are among the facilities and activities which people outside of Diss enjoy.

She continued: “There is an inherent unfairness in a system that allows a community that funds services which a wider population can use free of charge.”

She added that the boundary change proposal was to “correct an anomaly and share the burden of cost”.

The proposed changes would have seen 43pc of the properties in Roydon change from being governed by Roydon Parish Council to Diss Town Council, with Roydon Parish Council being reduced to eight councillors and Diss Town Council increasing to 14.

The committee has to make decisions based on the outcome of “ensuring that community governance for the area continues to be effective and convenient and reflects the identities and interests of the community”, not on the financial aspects involved.

It was also raised that at South Norfolk Council’s last community governance review, in 2001, the boundary change was refused.

The final decision will be made at a full South Norfolk Council meeting on February 19 next year.

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