Released On 29th Mar 2021

Leaders' Letter: Have your say

We are now more than halfway through the 8-week consultation on proposals for reform of local government in Somerset.  

As Leaders of the District Councils in Somerset we are more determined than ever to grasp this opportunity for a fresh start. We strongly believe two new unitary councils is the right number for a county the size of Somerset. These councils will be small enough, so they know you and you know them, but big enough to be effective and economic. Our Stronger Somerset plan for reform addresses the county’s needs now and into the future. We must not allow this process to end up with a change of name above county hall, but no change of approach to the real challenges our county faces. 

So, we encourage people to respond to the Government consultation online, by email at unitaryconsultation@communities.gov.uk, or in writing to Governance Reform and Democracy, MHCLG, 2 Marsham Street, London SW1P 4DF. 

We also wanted to let people know that we have told the civil servants running this consultation that in our view it is not fit for purpose. We are not confident that this consultation will show the Local Government Secretary on which side of the argument local support lies - with Stronger Somerset or the county council’s alternative plan.  

The consultation is too narrow and the online questionnaire too obscure. Almost half of the organisations on the list named consultees published by the department do not serve Somerset directly and a good number of them are partnerships of Somerset County Council. So, for example, Bristol City Council is being asked about the future of Somerset’s local services and representation, but not the hundreds of parish and town councils across our county. 

So, please do have your say in whatever way you can, and we will continue to press for a far better and easier way for local people to show where their support lies. The voice of the people of Somerset must be heard.  

Yours 
Cllr Val Keitch, Leader, South Somerset District Council
Cllr Duncan McGinty, Leader, Sedgemoor District Council
Cllr Federica Smith-Roberts, Leader, Somerset West and Taunton Council 
Cllr Ros Wyke, Leader, Mendip District Council
 

Category: Community

Have your say

The Government is consulting on our plan until Monday 19 April. Grab this once-in-a-generation chance to transform lives across Somerset

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