As Liberal Democrats, we believe that local communities are the natural places where society thrives. In rural areas, they are often the most effective place for social support, as well as for organisation, information sharing and making things happen.
We believe the County Council needs to do more in its commitment to local communities by giving them more power, more funding, and more influence over the way services are delivered.
We believe that services are better provided close to, if not in, the communities where people live and work.
If elected, we will expand and create community hubs in key locations for the public to access all services.
At the time of writing, rumours are circulating that the Government is planning on another attempt at creating unitary authorities - getting rid of District and County Councils and rolling their functions together.
As Liberal Democrats we are concerned about all attempts by Government to centralise power. There are also several practical issues – as well as opportunities – caused by Unitary Authorities.
This is not the first time that Unitaries have been discussed in Norfolk, and it remains to be seen whether Government has time to pass the necessary legislation to affect Norfolk next year. Nevertheless, our main concern is to ensure that the people of Norfolk are well represented locally, and can access services wherever they live.
The most concerning aspect is the extent to which Unitary authorities pave the way for elected mayors - in this case one for the whole of the East of England - and together take power away from local hands and towards Whitehall.
Any such change in Norfolk could have a profound impact on Parish Councils too and we remain opposed to being grouped together with places as far away as St Albans under an elected mayor for the whole of the East of England.
In parts of our county, Parish Councils are the very essence of local democracy: speaking truth to power, standing up for their local areas against corporate interests, and lobbying hard to protect local services.
Yet in some areas, Parish and Town Councils have struggled to find people to do the jobs.
Just as we believe power lives with people, we also trust in people. We believe that giving more power to local communities will attract better governance and a greater focus on the issues that matter.
If elected, we will provide a higher rate parish partnership for walking/cycling schemes;
Re-establish members’ Local Place Funds so that all county councillors can commit money to schemes and projects they believe are of benefit; and
Give funding to local communities for projects that continue what started during the response to coronavirus.
As part of our commitment to putting the people of Norfolk at the heart of the way the council operates, we will work to open up the council to allow local people to feel welcome, and to have their say.
Whenever there is a serious accident on Norfolk's roads, we will carry out a review of circumstances to determine whether there were any contributory Highways factors;
We will remove charges for DIY household waste; reduce the overall level of spending on extra councillors’ allowances; maintain & protect Fire Service budgets; and
Proactively work to increase the diversity of the County Council’s staff and members.