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Unitary: District chiefs 'turn down' invite from BCC


3:12pm 16th April 2018

By Jasmine Rapson, Local Democracy Reporter

District council chiefs refused an invitation offered by the leader of the county council to meet and find “common ground” in unitary council discussions, it has emerged.

Leader of Bucks County Council (BCC), Martin Tett, “reached out” to the four district councils in Bucks after Government backed plans to create a ‘super council’ in the county last month, and subsequently launched a public consultation.

Wycombe, South Bucks, Chiltern and Aylesbury Vale district councils have publicly opposed proposals since they came to light in 2016 – and later submitted their own plans to Government for two unitary authorities in the county.

Cllr Tett said he respects the district council’s “right to have a different opinion” however is “disappointed” they rejected his request to meet and “work together” during the consultation and in later months.

At a press conference on Thursday he said:

“I have now received a letter back from district leaders rejecting the idea of meeting. There is no opportunity currently to see where we can find common ground where we can reach a consensus and indeed where we differ.

“I would love to have seen us issue a statement of common ground, could have actually put out those principles where we do agree, maybe then have highlighted those areas where we don’t agree. I completely accept that.

“This isn’t an attempt to railroad district council colleagues or anything like that. This is an attempt to find consensus where we can on behalf of the residents of the county.”

In a joint statement, district council leaders Katrina Wood, Nick Naylor, Isobel Darby and Neil Blake said they “explained in a private letter to the leader of BCC why we do not think that now is the time to meet”.

The statement said:

“We do not believe that a single county unitary is in the best interests of our residents and businesses and we are confident that a better way forward can be achieved.

“This has been our position since we made a submission for two new unitary councils to Government in January 2017 and it’s still a position that we maintain.

“The representation period, which runs until 25 May, provides us with an opportunity to provide further information to support our proposal that two new unitary councils is the best solution for Bucks.

“And we have explained in a private letter to the leader of Buckinghamshire County Council why we do not think that now is time to meet.”

Members of the public have until May 25 to share their views with Government by emailing sajid.javid@communities.gsi.gov.uk

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There are 3 comments on this page.

AylesburyDuck, on 17th April 2018 8:45am
Bucks County Council are unable to sucesfully carry out a pothole repair that will last the winter and when they completely resurface a road the poor quality new surfaces is too thin so quickly delaminate and peel off lasting less than 12 months.
BCC show they have a total lack of bussiness acumen in handling the contract to run the Energy from Waste facility at Greatmoor leaving FCC Environment to take the bulk of the financial gains over the next 30 years despite the council spending £180 million building it.
AVDC are just as bad, they are still paying Ambassador Theatre Group £600,000 pa. to manage the theatre, despite AVDC spending £47 million to build it, ATG get all the profit.
AVDC planning department are not fit for purpose having spent several years producing The Vale of Aylesbury Plan which was withdrawn in 2014 on the advice of the Planning Inspectorate. They are still working on it's successor Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan, but we do not even have a date for it's implimentation. So for over a decade developers have had a free hand to build whatever they want wherever they want.
Our council leaders are taking huge salery packages but they do not manage anything. They farm it all out to private companies who reap all the benefits and share none of it with the councils.
When it comes to Unitary my vote is for none of the above.

Anonymous, on 23rd April 2018 8:43am
the none of it is not an option. The districts don't and can't work together, the county and the districtrics are too embedded to move forward, and at the risk of losing councillors they band together. but at the end of the day it should be about getting and doing the best for the residents of Bucks, working TOGETHER. IF YOU DONT THAT CHOICE will be taken away from you
Anonymous, on 23rd April 2018 8:45am
AVDC what happened to all that money that was given for the broadband and the nepitism of those that ran it and it was eventually sold on with limited increase in broadband to those rural areas. I have not seen any heads roll for that debacle councillors.

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