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Battle rages on about the future map of local government

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BOTH sides in the argument of shaking up local government, which could see the end of Mendip District Council and one single, unitary authority for Somerset, have been setting out their arguments. 

Somerset County Council could be submitting its business case to councillors this month, before being submitted to government. The council’s One Somerset proposal says that one council is better than five, arguing that it will save money and will be less confusing for Somerset residents.

If this plan goes ahead, Somerset County Council and the five district councils of Mendip, Sedgemoor, South Somerset and Somerset West and Taunton will be replaced with a single unitary council by 2022.

Somerset County Council has begun sending out surveys to residents and businesses to find out their views over the prospect of disbanding the five existing councils in Somerset in favour of a single new council.

In response, local district councils agree that restructuring local government is a good idea, but say they want to keep local councils and focus on more team work, which will also save money. They say this will be more democratic and keep local issues governed by local areas. They argue that during the current pandemic crisis, now is not the time to introduce such a model of local government. 

A joint statement has been released by leaders of the five district councils while  Mendip Area Green Party councillors, including those representing Frome, have also put out a statement. Somerset County Councilor for Frome West, cllr John Clarke, has called for parish councils to work together.  

The final decision on any unitary council proposals will be made by the Secretary of State for Local Government.

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