by adamboyden on 19 April, 2021
Today Monday 19th April is the final day of the Government’s consultation on the potential reorganisation of local councils in Somerset. You can still have your say on the rival Stronger Somerset and One Somerset proposals for a new unitary system of local government until 11.45pm tonight – please see here.
The County Council’s ‘One Somerset’ submitted by the County Council proposes a single unitary council for the county. The alternative ‘Stronger Somerset’ submitted by the four District Councils would see one unitary for Western Somerset, and one for Eastern Somerset (based on the districts of Mendip and South Somerset).
The four district councils (both Lib Dem and Conservative controlled) and the vast majority of district councillors (including Lib Dem, Conservative, Green, Labour and independents) have endorsed the Stronger Somerset proposals (see here and here), including because it offers more ‘local’ local government, and should be more locally accountable and responsive than a large single council based in Taunton (which would also have less than half the number of elected representatives). Last week Mendip endorsed a critical examination of the One Somerset proposals (item 6 here).
Also last week the four District Councils were planning to vote to offer all local residents in Somerset a referendum to indicate which of the two proposals you prefer (see item 7 here), but this has been delayed until next week (with an extra meeting due on Friday 30th), to allow consideration of a strongly worded letter from the Secretary of State Robert Jenrick (see here). A petition to give residents a vote on the issue has been started here, so please consider signing.1 Comment