MP condemns unitary authority idea for Devon

GEOFFREY Cox, MP for Torridge and West Devon, has condemned the latest attempt by the Boundary Committee for England to push through the abolition of District and Borough Councils in Devon before the General Election. Ministers had pushed for the aboliti

GEOFFREY Cox, MP for Torridge and West Devon, has condemned the latest attempt by the Boundary Committee for England to push through the abolition of District and Borough Councils in Devon before the General Election.

Ministers had pushed for the abolition of district councils, in favour of a single authority covering either all of Devon or just the areas outside Exeter and Exmouth.

The process was halted earlier this year after councils overturned the process at the High Court, but the decision has now been reversed after an appeal.

The MP has previously described the long drawn out process as a "fiasco" and urged the Government to abandon the idea.


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Mr Cox is now calling for an urgent meeting between Devon MPs and Ministers over the proposals, which are opposed by the district, borough and county councils and have little popular support. He has pointed out that he has not received a single letter of support for the proposals out of the hundreds that he had been sent on the subject.

Mr Cox said: "This whole unitary authority exercise has been a fiasco, undermining morale, draining resources, preventing councils from moving forward with practical measures to improve services and making planning for the future impossible.

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"The Government's decision to press forward with these proposals despite the near unanimous opposition of every interested party is completely wrong-headed and runs entirely contrary to the overwhelming balance of public opinion on the issue.

"Ministers simply do not seem to care that the people of Torridge and West Devon do not want to lose their local councils, with their distinct rural voices, just because the Labour Party in Exeter wants to gain their independence from the rest of the county.

"I am glad to say that any Conservative Government would reverse this decision if it makes it on to the statute books.

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