“Secretary of State forecasts increase in number of unitary authorities”

Might Devon unitisation take place soon AFTER EDDC moves to its new luxury HQ?

“The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government says he expects the number of unitary authorities in England to be higher in five years’ time.

Sajid Javid’s comments came in response to a question from former Cabinet colleague Patrick McLoughlin, who noted that both Scotland and Wales “are totally served by unitary local authorities”.

Sajid Javid 146x219The Secretary of State responded: “I can tell him that 60% of English people are served by unitary authorities, and I expect the number to be higher in five years’ time, given the views of many local people about unitary authorities and our commitment to consider unitarisation whenever requested.”

In November 2017 Javid said he was ‘minded to’ back the Future Dorset plans, which involve the replacement of the nine local authorities in the council with two unitaries.

Under this model, one ‘urban’ unitary would be created through the merger of Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch. The other ‘rural’ unitary would be established from East Dorset, North Dorset, Purbeck, West Dorset and Weymouth & Portland. The county council would cease to exist.

However, councillors at Christchurch agreed this month to write to the Secretary of State to set out their vision of an alternative to the proposed shake-up. The council also approved an initial budget of £15,000 to take legal advice “and if necessary initiate legal proceedings to protect the interests of Christchurch Borough Council and its residents”.

Though not involving the establishment of unitary authorities, the Secretary of State said in December that he was ‘minded to’ back the merger of Taunton Deane Borough Council and West Somerset District Council, and the merger of Forest Heath District Council and St Edmundsbury Borough Council into single district councils.”