District councils '˜considering their position' after Government backs single Bucks authority

Buckinghamshire's district councils say they are 'disappointed' by the Government's decision for the county to adopt a single unitary authority from 2020.

The group of four councils - which includes Aylesbury Vale District Council - spent thousands of pounds to research their preferred unitary model - which was two authorities for the county.

But on Thursday, Secretary of State for Local Government James Brokenshire announced that a single ‘super council’ - the model put forward by Bucks County Council, would be the chosen option.

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The statement from the district councils (Aylesbury Vale, Chiltern, South Bucks and Wycombe) said the authorities did not rule out appealing the decision.

It read: “We are disappointed that the Secretary of State, James Brokenshire, has announced he is supporting a new single unitary district council that will cover the whole of Buckinghamshire, excluding Milton Keynes.

“The Secretary of State has previously stated there was a need to ensure broad consensus and we do not believe this has been achieved with the new single unitary district proposal.

“All four district councils, as well as many key stakeholders, firmly believe that the two unitary authority approach, based on the two different economic geographies in Buckinghamshire, is the best option for protecting, delivering and transforming the services needed both now and in the future.

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“We will now be considering our position, seeking further advice and reviewing the options available to us.”

County council leader Martin Tett has hailed the decision as ‘historic’.

He said: “The announcement paves the way for a brand new council, fit for the future, created by combining the best of both county and district councils. This new council will be simpler, better value and more local to our residents.”