North Devon relief at unitary authority decision

MASSIVE relief but also bemusement is how North Devon Council is reacting to the news that plans for a Devon-wide unitary council have been scrapped.   Today the Secretary of State John Denham announced that he would prefer to see a unitary council for th

MASSIVE relief but also bemusement is how North Devon Council is reacting to the news that plans for a Devon-wide unitary council have been scrapped.

Today the Secretary of State John Denham announced that he would prefer to see a unitary council for the city of Exeter instead.

Devon County Council will remain, as will the district councils like North Devon Council and Torridge District Council.

It follows a two-year review process led by the Boundary Committee who were asked by the government to look at Exeter City Council's original 2007 bid to become a unitary authority.


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Instead, the Boundary Committee advised that all district councils in Devon should be scrapped and replaced with one enormous authority covering the whole county.

Now after receiving the Boundary Committee's advice, Mr Denham has decided to stick with Exeter City Council's original proposal.

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Leader of North Devon Council Cllr Des Brailey said: "Although we are very relieved that the Devon-wide option has been dropped, we are mystified at why this lengthy and expensive process was necessary, only to arrive back at the starting point.

"This has been a distressing time for all involved and we are glad to see the back of it. It's time to move forward now and put this nonsense behind us."

North Devon Council continuously opposed the plans for a Devon-wide authority, believing it would be too large and undemocratic to serve the people of North Devon properly. The council is happy that the government has heard this message and has come to the right decision.

It will now continue on the path of looking for opportunities to share services with partner authorities to make local government in the region more efficient.

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