Buckinghamshire unitary council plan backed by minister

Image source, Google
Image caption, The scheme was put forward by Buckinghamshire County Council

Proposals for a new unitary authority covering Buckinghamshire have been given the backing of the government.

The plans would see the county council and four district councils - Aylesbury Vale, Chiltern, Wycombe, and South Bucks - replaced with one authority.

The scheme for one local authority had been backed by the county council while a plan for two unitary councils was proposed by the districts.

The government said it was "minded" to back plans for a single authority.

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said: "There is broad local consent for change in Buckinghamshire.

Image source, Buckinghamshire County Council
Image caption, County council leader Martin Tett welcomed the plans for a unitary Buckinghamshire

"Having carefully considered all the material and representations I have received, I am minded to implement, subject to parliamentary approval and further discussions, the locally-led proposal to replace the existing five councils across Buckinghamshire with a single council for the area.

"I am satisfied that this new single council, if established, is likely to improve local government and service delivery in the county, generating savings, increasing financial resilience, facilitating a more strategic and holistic approach to planning and housing challenge."

County council leader Martin Tett said: "We know there is widespread support for these proposals and we will continue talking with residents and a wide range of organisations across the county to ensure the new council benefits from their input and expertise as things develop."

In a joint statement, the four district councils said: "While we are extremely disappointed, the 'minded to' decision is not set in stone and, as the process allows, we will be making the strongest possible representations to the Secretary of State that this decision is not the right one.

"We don't believe that this decision is in the best interest of our local residents, businesses, community groups, parish councils and various other stakeholders across the county and, based on our own engagement, we don't believe it has strong local support."

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