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AVDC Push For Unitary Councils For Bucks

After the CEO of Bucks Council said he supported a unitary approach in Buckinghamshire in his retirement statement, AVDC are driving the change.

Published by the Mix96 News Team at 5:57am 6th April 2016. 3-minute read.

AVDC Push For Unitary Councils For Bucks

Having just one council for Aylesbury Vale is the best option.

That's according to AVDC this morning, as they reveal a report into becoming what's called a unitary authority, arguing there should be just two councils for Buckinghamshire.

They say it would help them cope with government cuts, but won't give an actual figure on how much it would save the taxpayer yet.

AVDC Cabinet Member for Business Transformation, Cllr Janet Blake, has called for the county's local authorities to get round the table and discuss a unitary future for Buckinghamshire.

She said:

"There's no doubt that our residents and communities are not getting the best deal under the current two tier system, where county and district councils deliver different services. It's not cost effective and lends itself to duplication and confusion, " 

"We shared this report with other district leaders in the county but found there was no appetite to progress discussions.

"As a councillor for both the county and the Vale, I truly believe that having two unitaries in Bucks is the way forward. Whatever the outcome, I'd urge leaders to start talking."

Recent comments from Chris Williams Buckinghamshire Country Council's former CEO have reignited the debate on unitary authorities, something AVDC wanted to progress at the end of 2014 - when a Bucks Business First report gave four options, concluding that doing nothing was not an option.

AVDC commissioned an LG Futures Report last year which states that 89% of unitary authorities in England have been formed by district councils and concluded that two unitary authorities for Bucks - north and south - was a viable option.

This model would see a unitary authority in the north providing a complete package of both district and county services for residents of the Vale.

A southern unitary would do the same for the rest of the county.

It would create AVUA and Bucks UA splitting Aylesbury Vale and the three other districts, Chiltern, South Bucks and Wycombe into two authorities.

They say this will help balance out the finances after huge government cuts and allow them to deliver services better.

Councillor Janet Blake added:

"With our growth agenda to take more housing we could be looking at 250,000 more people over the next 15 to 20 years.

"We're more than big enough to sustain unitary status, we're already bigger than Milton Keynes was when it went unitary.

"Circumstances have changed especially in financial terms, things have got much worse, with the loss of government grants and we all know that's going to disappear completely by 2020.

"Now is not too soon to get working on a new way of delivering services to residents in a more cost-effective, efficient, quality way."

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