Monday, 16 February 2015

Unitary Councils...... Urban District Councils...... and the East Devon District Council

The East Devon District Council is now working very closely with Exeter and Teignbridge:
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: and the longer-term demise of district councils... part eleven: "Exeter, East Devon and Teignbridge councils to form Greater Exeter"

Indeed, the District Council seems quite relaxed about the prospect of its own demise:
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: and the longer-term demise of district councils... a summary of the issues so far...

Indeed, back in 2008, it was proposing pretty much the same - but on its own terms:


News service: 10 April 2008

EDDC proposes four unitary councils for Devon

FOUR UNITARY authorities in Devon could transform local government in the county for the benefit of its citizens, the businesses that are located here and the partners, including central government, with whom local authorities work.

Following extensive consultation, that is the concept being proposed by East Devon District Council in its submission to the Boundary Committee, which has been appointed by the Government to look at alternative council formations. EDDC’s proposal includes the formation of an Exeter/Eastern Devon unitary authority, on the basis that a council of this size would be big enough to be strategic and small enough to relate to local communities.

The review, which follows Exeter City Council’s unsuccessful bid last year for unitary status, means that all of Devon’s councils must submit their ideas for how a possible shift to unitary government might work – and retaining the current system is not an option the Committee will entertain.

EDDC proposes four unitary councils for Devon

What the East Devon District Council has not wanted has been the complete abolition of this tier of local government:
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: and the longer-term demise of district councils... part five... East Devon District Council "will imminently have no alternative whatsoever than to integrate anyway."

Indeed, at the same time as its own counter proposals in 2008, the District Council was going to court to stop the idea of reverting to County and Urban District Councils:
High Court go-ahead for EDDC unitary challenge - News - Sidmouth Herald
District lawyers go to the High Court - News - Exmouth Journal

With the new coalition government, these proposals were killed off anyway:
Final curtain for unitary plans in Suffolk, Norfolk and Devon - Announcements - GOV.UK

Since then, the District Council has opposed Michael Heseltine's latest proposals on the matter:
Unitary authorities will come, Lord Heseltine tells CPRE Devon | East Devon Watch
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: and the longer-term demise of district councils... part nine: Heseltine speaks again..... "Devon County Council should become a unitary authority with both Devon and Cornwall having directly elected mayors."

It seems, however, that there is more interest in the notion - as reported by the East Devon Watch blog today:
Do we need a District Council? | East Devon Watch 

Here are the pages from Streetlife:

Why do we need a district council?

Local Politics in Sidmouth
The recent furore about the beach coffee van has had me thinking about local government. Regardless of one's opinion on this matter, it is surely a classic example of a decision which should be made by elected Sidmouth representatives. Sidmouth Town Council  are against it, but EDDC have approved it because no Sidmouth councillors on the district council were allowed to call the matter in (whether they wanted to or not is irrelevant). So Sidmouth's local decisions cannot be made by its local representatives, but by those representing other competing local areas who may have Sidmouth's needs at the bottom of their own priorities. This seems to me to suggest restoring local powers to the Town Council - and if we did that we might get a higher "class" of Town councillor (with apologies to the exising town councillors who are currently reduced to village council status with very little power).
If the town council were to be given these powers over Sidmouth issues, then the rest could be dealt with by the County Council and the district councils could be abolished. There's an idea - albeit one that worked for years and years before District Councils were invented.
Bruce L
We don't - everything worked very well under the old 2 tier system of SUDC and Devon County Council. All the SUDC officers were local with local knowledge. This all worked fine until the, then government in their wisdom decided we weren't wasting enough money, so they brought in a 3 tier system. The present Sidmouth Town Council has no powers other than advisory, so one could equally ask why do we need a Town council?
Barnacle Bill
Horses for courses hibou.

The stale, sleepy parish councillors are able to make decisions or recommendations on a more parochial scale that totally suits their station. If they really had any influence then most towns would be in a constant state of flux and grind to a halt.

Of course, there are those in Sidmouth that want exaclty that.
A few years ago there was talk about Unitary Councils and having two full time Councillors.......around the time there was talk about Health Centres generally changing...I remember signing a petition in Sidmouth Health Centre.......

Does the Town Clerk work full time? The Chief Executive of E.D.D.C. is shared with another Council...Somerset?.......I would not have thought there was enough work for full time post just in Sidmouth?  May be wrong....seems strange... such a small area having a full time Town Clerk.

Streetlife | Why do we need a district council?

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