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Eastern Somerset and Western Somerset
Two new councils: one goal, a better county

Small enough, so they know you and you know them, but big enough to be effective and economic. This is the right solution for a county of Somerset’s size. Meeting the needs of their local communities and working together for the benefit of the whole county.

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Delivering a better future for everyone
What we will deliver

A better future for our children and adults
Stronger services

With 25% of children in Somerset living in poverty and 14,000 families in need of urgent help, we need a fresh start.
Learn more about our innovative plans to reform and invest in the way we deliver services for children and adults in collaboration with partners, as well as the way we will help our older population live better.

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A better future for our city, towns and parishes
Stronger communities

The new unitary councils will be set up to listen to the voices of the multiple towns, parishes, villages and neighbourhoods that make up Somerset. We will work with existing neighbourhoods and identities, rather than impose a new area structure that no one locally will recognise. We will build a framework of support that inspires participation, but doesn’t require it. Learn more about our plans that include the development of locality agreements, and family and wellbeing deals, a charter-based approach to support local ownership and much more.

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A better future for essential services
Stronger partnerships

Our councils will work more closely together with the NHS, police, community organisations, schools, colleges and more - to deliver better services This is what Stronger Somerset can deliver.
We propose the creation of Western Somerset Council and Eastern Somerset Council but these new organisations will need to be closely linked where it makes sense. Learn more about how the new councils will work together and building better, lasting relationships with a range of other organisation to deliver better services.

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A better future for our economy and climate
Stronger economy

The Somerset economy is less productive and more at risk of the economic impact of COVID-19 than comparable areas. This has to change.
Poverty and inequality are bad for growth and have huge costs for individuals and services. Stronger Somerset will create a better platform to boost business and productivity; achieve carbon neutrality and climate resilience; deliver better digital connectivity; deliver better transport infrastructure and physical connectivity alongside improving skills and social mobility. Learn more about our plans for a stronger economy and a devolution deal for the histroic county of Somerset.

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Why Two Councils?
Why two unitary councils?

The new councils will be small enough, so they know you and you know them, but big enough to be effective and economic.

All residents will come under one council – either Western Somerset or Eastern Somerset.

They will cover distinct areas based on local economies. They will align with existing boundaries used by emergency services and the health service.

This is the right solution for a county of Somerset’s size. They will meet the needs of their local communities and work together for the benefit of the whole county

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Take a look at our FAQs
Our FAQs

Why does local government need to change in Somerset?

Somerset has enormous potential but it is falling behind other parts of the UK with lower levels of prosperity, poor life chances for residents and a lagging economy. The current local government system is financially unsustainable and, in some organisations, there is a lack of leadership and collaborative mindsets which is needed to tackle this long term underperformance.

We recognise that there are significant challenges in Somerset from the economy, the environment and climate change, supporting older and vulnerable people to the provision of affordable housing, improving social mobility and alleviating poverty and giving business a voice.

Addressing these challenges can only be achieved through significant reform and a fresh start for local government .

The Stronger Somerset proposal offers a new model of local government that will revitalise services and improve well-being and prosperity across the County.

Who is involved in the Stronger Somerset bid?
Mendip District Council , Sedgemoor District Council, Somerset West and Taunton Council and South Somerset District Council have been working together to shape these proposals since January 2019. We continue to work together across the four districts to develop our ideas, in conjunction with our partners, to deliver improved life chances for all those who live and work in Somerset.
Why now?
All councils in Somerset recognise the need for change and we have tried to agree a way forward for many years. More recently the government has indicated that, in its Devolution White Paper, expected some time in 2021, it will push for all parts of England to remove the two-tier system of County and district councils. It has also said that areas that want devolution of power and money from Whitehall and Westminster will need to do this. In late 2020 the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, the Right Honourable Robert Jenrick MP, invited Somerset along with two other areas to submit proposals for local government reform. We submitted our proposal to the Secretary of State in December 2020.

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You can hear about the latest developments with Stronger Somerset, and plans for Government consultation, across our social media channels on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn where we’ll provide news, information and more.

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Latest News

21st Jul 2021

Decision rides roughshod over voters of Somerset, ...

Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick, MP, has this evening (Wednesday 21 July) announced he has decided to implement, subject to Parliamentary approval, the proposal for a single unitary co...

13th Jul 2021

Western Somerset district councils hold joint disc...

Leaders, Executive members and Chief Executives of Somerset West and Taunton Council and Sedgemoor District Council have come together to discuss next steps in the preparations for a Western Somerset...
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