Proposal to scrap five councils for one to be investigated by district politicians

AVDC and, below, Peter Cooper
AVDC and, below, Peter Cooper
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Replacing Bucks’ four district councils and the county council with a single unitary authority will be investigated by a Vale committee.

Aylesbury Vale District Council’s (AVDC) finance and services scrutiny committee is to look at the costs and benefits of a single council.

AVDC Cllr Peter Cooper

AVDC Cllr Peter Cooper

A similar investigation was recently approved by Wycombe District Council.

The idea has previously been dismissed by AVDC leaders, but gained the committee’s support after a motion was put forward by Councillor Peter Cooper, an independent member who has long backed the plan.

Mr Cooper said: “There is a great deal of support from voters and the business community in Buckinghamshire for our local government structure to be streamlined and made more relevant to the needs of local people.

“The five council, two tier structure is heading for a serious financial crisis as government grants are cut.

“Our front line services are at risk and we are in danger of spending a disproportionate amount of available funds on overheads.

“Fifty five English councils and all of Wales have now become unitary and those areas are now benefitting from the resulting savings and clarity of single point service delivery.

“I call on the members and leaders of all Bucks authorities to co-operate with Wycombe and AVDC on progressing this issue.”

A report will be prepared for the committee’s next meeting in November so the costs and benefits of a unitary council can start to be assessed.

In a recent interview with the Bucks Herald, the new AVDC leader, Councillor Neil Blake, said it is the wrong time to be looking at creating a unitary authority, a similar stance to his predecessor, Councillor John Cartwright.