Gloucestershire County Council's proposal to become a unitary authority could spell the end for Cotswold District Council
At a recent council meeting, members of GCC agreed to set up a working group to assess the pros and cons of turning the council into a unitary authority.
Currently, Gloucestershire operates a two-tier council system with GCC being responsible for larger services such as education and highways.
Smaller district councils such as CDC provide more localised services such as parking charges and council tax collection.
Under a unitary system, GCC would provide all services to all areas across Gloucestershire.
Supporters say the change would go a long way in helping GCC find the £75 million savings it needs to go forward.
Cirencester mayor Joe Harris told the Standard that he would welcome the abolition of CDC.
He said: “I think it can only be a good thing. People have lots of concerns about unitary authorities and about losing the localism. But actually, you are putting more power into local communities.
“Most of CDC’s cabinet aren’t from Cirencester and don’t have Cirencester’s best interests at heart. We need local people providing local services as they know best.”
However, CDC chairman Lynden Stowe has expressed doubts at the need for extreme money saving measures.
He said: “I think that a countywide unitary is a non-starter. I’m not convinced that there are many savings still to be made – they have already been made by the district councils over the last four years in different ways.
Cllr Stowe did, however, commend GCC in continually reviewing local government structure to ensure that the taxpayer is getting value for money.
GCC leader Mark Hawthorne said that although the council is looking at reorganisation, it is doubtful that such a drastic move could provide the much-needed savings.
He said: “I very much doubt a unitary council or councils could deliver anywhere near what’s required. That said, we’re happy to look closely at any idea that might save the taxpayer money.”
The findings of the group are due to be published in the coming months.
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