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Majority support two councils for Bucks, says survey

The Districts say we need to know this info, the County Council argue it's old news.

Published by the Mix96 News Team at 8:07am 21st April 2018. 4-minute read.

Majority support two councils for Bucks, says survey

67% of us would like one council dealing with Aylesbury Vale and one for the rest of Buckinghamshire.

That's from new survey results, that the council who want one super council commissioned.

This debate is going away anytime soon - one council for all of Bucks, or two?

Either way, we'll all have one authority that we deal with when all this is over.

The survey, conducted by Opinion Research Services (ORS) in spring 2017, found that over two-thirds (67%) of residents indicated support for two unitary councils.

Those in support said they felt this structure would improve or maintain access to services and provide better accountability.

unitary - district leaders
The District Council leaders

 

In a joint statement, the leaders of the four district councils - Neil Blake, Isobel Darby, Nick Naylor and Katrina Wood, said:

"Given that we're facing the biggest changes to local services in Bucks for 40 years it's extremely disappointing that such strong evidence, carried out by a reliable company, has not been shared with the public before now. We sincerely hope it's been sent to the Secretary of State before he makes a final decision which will affect residents for decades to come.

"Despite having to wait several months, these findings very much match what we are hearing on the ground from residents - that there is more support for two new unitary councils than for one.

"For many, a single unitary will be too distant and there is a big question mark over the quality of services that would be provided and whether the savings claimed can actually be delivered."

The survey, which was carried out by telephone, spoke to a random sample of 1,000 residents across the four district council areas.

According to ORS,

"…the survey data, once weighted, is broadly representative of the entire population of Buckinghamshire and the results thus provide a statistically reliable estimate of the views of the county's residents."

The "open" questionnaire, which was published on the Future Bucks website and was available for anyone to complete, found that there is more support for a single county unitary.

Within their report, ORS state that open questionnaires like this one "…cannot normally be expected to be representative of the general balance of opinion."

Martin Tett
County Council leader, Martin Tett

 

But the leader of the County Council, Martin Tett, says this info is already out there:

"This is really old news being 'warmed up'.

"The key reason for this research was to establish that residents recognised and supported the need for change to a unitary structure, sweeping away both county council and district councils and creating new unitary local government.

"All of the research was supplied to the Government prior to its 'minded to' decision to support a new single unitary based on the boundaries of Buckinghamshire.

"The Secretary of State was exceptionally clear in his statement that creating two small unitaries was not a viable model for this area.

"They would be too small and would lack financial sustainability. Our proposal has a greater level of savings and efficiencies plus a devolution offer to local parishes and town councils which is a proven model in local government and offered the best approach.

"That is why we're urging people to write to the Secretary of State to support these plans and seize this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to simplify local government, make major savings and protect front line services across Buckinghamshire."

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