Unitary delay 'could be final nail in plan's coffin'

FURTHER delay in recommendations for the future of local government in Devon could sound the death knell of the whole process. This is the view of Cllr Des Brailey, Tory Leader of North Devon Council following the news that the Boundary Committee had to

FURTHER delay in recommendations for the future of local government in Devon could sound the death knell of the whole process.

This is the view of Cllr Des Brailey, Tory Leader of North Devon Council following the news that the Boundary Committee had to shelve plans to publish its final recommendations today.

It follows criticism in the High Court of the way the committee dealt with similar consultations in Suffolk.

The committee's two proposals - for a whole-Devon unitary authority, or one comprising Exeter and Exmouth and another the rest of Devon - would mean the demise of district councils.

Mr Brailey said:: "Although we do not welcome the extension of this period of uncertainty for our staff and our residents, we do now hope that this will be the final nail in the coffin for this totally flawed process.

"We have continuously expressed grave concerns about creating a faceless, bureaucratic super-council for Devon and all the risks it brings in terms of leaving North Devon out in the cold.

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"With the new Devon County Council administration also losing appetite for a Devon unitary, the plans are left with little, if any real support.

"We just want to end to this nonsense so we can get on with the job of providing value for money services to our local residents and so we can progress our plans to share services with our Torridge neighbours."

Three weeks ago, North Devon Council and Torridge District Council revealed they were discussing plans to share some services. A period of consultation with staff and parish councils has begun.

The first shared services could come into being by next summer with the hope of �1 million savings in the first 12 months.

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