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Consultation launched on reorganisation in three counties

The government has launched a consultation on whether or not to scrap the existing council structures in Cumbria, North Yorkshire and Somerset.

Local authorities in the three counties were asked last year by ministers to submit reorganisation plans, which would involve replacing the current system of districts and county councils with a single unitary authority, for their respective areas.

Since then, ministers have received a total of eight proposals – four from councils in Cumbria and two each from councils in Somerset and North Yorkshire.

The consultation will run for eight weeks until 19 April.

As a result of the consultation, the government has also announced that district and county council elections due to be held in May this year in the three areas will be rescheduled to May 2022.

Although the elections in those areas for local police and crime commissioners, as well as elections to any town or parish councils, will continue to take place in May 2021.

‘Now that councils in Cumbria, North Yorkshire and Somerset have submitted their proposals, I am pleased residents, businesses and service providers will have the opportunity to have their say on what will work best for their area,’ said housing secretary, Robert Jenrick.

‘Where there is local support, changing the structure of local government can offer better value for money and improved services for residents.’

The director of the County Councils Network, Simon Edwards, commented: ‘The beginning of consultations on the future model for councils in Cumbria, Somerset, and North Yorkshire are once-in-a-generation opportunity to enact long-lasting change to local authorities in those areas: so it is imperative that the right decision is made. 

‘It is important that the consultation contains an evidence-based discussion. The aim should be to take both the best of the current district councils and county councils in those areas to improve local services for residents and to deliver real devolution to these counties.’

Photo Credit – Andibreit (Pixabay)

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