District council leaders encourage residents to engage in Somerset unitary authority consultation

  Posted: 23.02.21 at 12:07 by Mendip District Council

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Somerset’s district councils have welcomed the launch of a public consultation into the plans for a change to local government in the county.

Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick launched the consultation yesterday evening (February 22). The consultation period will run for eight weeks until Monday April 19.

Two proposals have been put forward - the district council-supported Stronger Somerset, which suggests two unitary authorities to cover the county, and the county council-supported One Somerset, which wants there to be a single unitary authority.

District council leaders are now encouraging residents to have their say and engage in the public consultation.

Leader of Sedgemoor District Council, Cllr Duncan McGinty, said: “We need reform – without it, the county will go broke.

"Savings from reorganisation would soon be eaten up by spiralling costs of adults’ and children’s services, if they continue to be run as they are.

"Only the Stronger Somerset business case sets out the ideas, fresh thinking and evidence to show how reform can be achieved and sustain excellent services right across our communities.”

Leader of Mendip District Council, Cllr Ros Wyke, said: “Stronger Somerset is the fresh start our county needs.

"We have a plan for the county’s needs now and into the future that will deliver better jobs, affordable homes, stronger communities and a carbon zero county.

"This is not about simply creating a bigger, cheaper version of what we have now. Stronger Somerset proposes deep, fundamental reform that will transform the places and quality of life in Somerset and give residents excellent, value-for-money services.”

Stronger Somerset proposes two unitary authorities, covering western and eastern Somerset, to replace the five current councils.

Every Somerset resident will have one council responsible for their services, one set of councillors, and one council tax bill. These new councils would work closely with each other to co-ordinate policy and share back-office services where it makes sense.

To respond to the Government’s consultation, you can visit the website HERE. You can also respond by email or post.

The Government is also consulting on Somerset County Council’s alternative proposal, One Somerset - you can read an interview with the leader of the council HERE regarding their plans.

Sent on behalf of all four district councils in Somerset – Mendip, Sedgemoor, South Somerset and Somerset West and Taunton.

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