Mixed reactions have been given to a report by Lord Heseltine calling for two-tier authorities to be scrapped
8:00am Monday 10th December 2012 in Cotswolds news
LOCAL councillors have given mixed reactions to a report by Lord Heseltine calling for two-tier authorities, the system currently in place in the Cotswolds, to be scrapped.
The review was commissioned by Chancellor George Osborne and consists of 89 different recommendations to help foster economic growth in the UK.
Currently services provided by local government to Cotswold residents are split, with Gloucestershire County Council in charge of areas such as education, transport, social services and libraries.
Cotswold District Council looks after services such as licensing, planning and development, refuse collection and environmental health.
A number of responsibilities are shared between the two councils.
Lord Heseltine's report, ‘No stone unturned in pursuit of growth,’ maintains that the two-tier system is confusing and expensive and should be replaced by one unitary authority for the whole county, as is the case with Wiltshire.
“I think it’s pretty much inevitable,” he said.
“The cost is the driving factor behind the whole thing – to have three tiers is very expensive.
“A higher authority covering a wider area and giving more power to the town and parish councils is just what we need, especially in a place like Cirencester with a fairly strong town council.”
CDC chairman Cllr Sir Edward Horsfall (Con, Ampney-Coln) disagreed, however, saying he felt it was important a local authority was able to work closely with its communities.
“I think its right that CDC stay involved in local matters while GCC work towards matters for the whole county,” he said.
“I think that’s a good arrangement and I feel it should continue.”
As well as increasing funding to local government, Lord Heseltine has also recommended that all councillors be elected every four years rather than the current staggering over three years.
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