It’s set to be the biggest shake-up of local government in Buckinghamshire since the 1970s – and people have until May 25 to give their views to the Government.
Secretary of State Sajid Javid is ‘minded-to’ approve the creation of a brand new, single unitary council in Buckinghamshire, which would replace the existing five district and county councils.
In a statement he said: “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 challenges, and sustaining good local services.”
An alternative proposal is to end Buckinghamshire and instead break it up into north and south unitary councils. The Secretary of State said this is ‘unlikely to improve local government in the area, generate significant savings, or provide the capacity to sustain major services or to address planning and housing challenges’.
The announcement was welcomed by Cllr Martin Tett, leader of Buckinghamshire County Council, who said: “A new single council for Buckinghamshire would easily save the most money – at least £18m per year, according to independently-verified calculations – by increasing economies of scale, being more efficient and cutting down on the numbers of senior managers. That’s a lot of money – it would pay for a new primary school or more than double what is currently spent on road resurfacing each and every year! These are real tangible benefits for local residents.
“Every part of Buckinghamshire is different and home to very distinct towns and villages. That’s why I’m particularly proud about how the new council would offer a far more local service. This includes having community offices dotted around the county so that wherever people live, they are only within a few miles of a physical space where they can go in and talk about local services. We know that for many people – and particularly older residents – access to or using the internet can be problematic. They would much prefer to pick up the phone or meet face-to-face with someone locally – and under these plans, that’s what they’d get.
“One council would also put an end to the mind boggling complexity of ‘who does what and who should I talk to?’. Too often confusion over whether a service is provided by district or county means being passed from pillar to post or ‘hands washed’. In the future having departments such as housing and infrastructure under the same roof will lead to a far more-joined up and strategic approach to the issues facing residents. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help create a local government system for Buckinghamshire’s residents which will be simpler, far better value and closer to local people. I’d encourage as many people as possible to let the government know their views.”
Make your views heard now before the 25 May, email email@example.com , and let the government know you support #OneCouncil in Buckinghamshire.
Take a look at www.futurebucks.co.uk to find out more about the new council for Buckinghamshire and follow us on Twitter @futurebucks1