Plans to scrap district councils slammed
A PLAN to scrap district and borough councils to create a unitary authority responsible for all services in Gloucestershire have been criticised.
Michael Heseltine, former Conservative cabinet minister, presented 89 recommendations to the Government following a six-month review of economic growth.
One of the ideas put forward by Lord Heseltine included getting rid of the "baffling" two-tier system of local government currently in place in the county.
But Mark Hawthorne, leader of Gloucestershire County Council, has dismissed the proposal as a waste of time and money.
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"I'm not going to waste taxpayers' time and money moving the deckchairs between councils in Gloucestershire," he said.
"We need councils to work together now to save money – not argue amongst themselves.
"The Secretary of State for Local Government has made it very clear, on a number of occasions, that he will not be permitting any local government reorganisations at present."
Lynden Stowe, leader of Cotswold District Council, believes a unitary authority would not be suitable.
He said: "I think unitary authorities are more suited to urban areas with large populations. For instance, I don't believe it would benefit the people of the Cotswolds to have planning issues dealt with under a Gloucestershire-wide planning authority."
Not everyone, however, is against the idea.
Andrew North, chief executive of Cheltenham Borough Council, has gone on record in the past as saying that he is broadly supportive of unitary status for the county.
And Steve Jordan, leader of Cheltenham Borough Council, has echoed a similar sentiment.
He said: "In principle it makes sense, however it would be expensive to achieve and is not a high priority on the national agenda so we could spend a lot of unnecessary time talking about it locally.
"In the meantime we are getting on with making the current structure more efficient and are sharing many services."
Lord Heseltine believes the creation of more unitary authorities would reduce "duplication" of services and "inefficiencies".