Released On 6th Apr 2021

Councillors to consider local referendum on the future of Somerset

Councillors to consider local referendum on the future of Somerset

Somerset district councillors are being asked to back recommendations to give the people of Somerset a vote on how local councils are organised.

A proposal to hold a local referendum on the two options for local government reform in Somerset will be discussed at council meetings in each of the four district councils to be held on 14 and 15 April.

All electors across Somerset would be given the chance to vote for either Stronger Somerset, proposed by the four district councils, or One Somerset, the county council’s alternative.

Voting in the referendum would be online or by post. The poll would provide supporting evidence to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) on top of that being collected during its current consultation.

Leader of Sedgemoor District Council, Cllr Duncan McGinty, said: “The level of local support is a key factor in deciding which proposal should go ahead. But we know there are many people who can’t respond to an online poll. A properly organised, independently run public vote is the best way to gauge public opinion and will help the government come to its decision.”

Leader of Mendip District Council, Cllr Ros Wyke, said: “This is a crucial decision with far-reaching consequences. People have asked me why the views of those most affected – namely the people of Somerset – are not being actively sought. This referendum will put that right.”

Leader of Somerset West and Taunton Council, Cllr Federica Smith-Roberts, said: “This affects everyone. We must get this right and I trust in the people of Somerset to do that.”

Leader of South Somerset Council, Cllr Val Keitch, said: “We have tried to widen participation in this consultation as much as we can. Just this week we are delivering a leaflet and easy reply card to every household this week – and I encourage people to use these – but nothing can take the place of an independent ballot.”

The proposal before councillors is that the local referendum would open on 7 May and close on 28 May. Voting would be by post or online and the poll would be run independent of the local councils by Civica Electoral Services (formerly Electoral Reform Services).

This would mean that the result of the poll would be available to the MHCLG before the decision is due as in June or July

The results of the local poll have been announced

see full details

Thank you to everyone who voted.

 

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