Meetings cut idea backed

MOVES to reduce the number of planning meetings in south Norfolk have moved a step forward, despite criticism from rival councillors.

MOVES to reduce the number of planning meetings in south Norfolk have moved a step forward, despite criticism from rival councillors.

South Norfolk councillors have given their support to a proposal to cut the number of area planning committees from three to two in a bid to save money.

However, members of the planning, housing and built environment overview sub-committee have also formed a new working group to look at plans to give officers greater delegated powers to determine less contentious applications.

Councillors are being asked to restructure the three planning committee system and to stage all of its meetings at South Norfolk House, Long Stratton, which would save the district council more than �18,000 a year.

The move, which has been described as "undemocratic" by the Liberal Democrat opposition, would result in monthly east and west area committees.

Alison Thomas, chairman of the overview committee, said the council was experiencing "extraordinary economic times" and the proposals would save money and officers' time, while "not diluting democracy too much."

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She added that the council's scheme of delegation would also have to change to stop area committee meetings running overtime. A review of all of South Norfolk Council's committees was launched last week.