10:39AM, Tuesday 31 May 2016
Bucks County Council (BCC) has given the go-ahead for a feasibility study into replacing the current three-tier system of local government with a single tier ‘unitary’ authority.
The council’s cabinet has approved the development of a business case for a single countywide authority delivering all services instead of the existing system of county, district and parish councils.
BCC said cabinet members believe the ‘integration of services through a single unitary council model would bring real and tangible benefits for residents’ and it would also ‘preserve the collective sense of history for the county’.
The business case is expected to be completed within three months and be considered by the cabinet in September.
It will make clear how services would be delivered by a single council and how residents would benefit.
BCC leader Cllr Martin Tett said: “The business case will show how a single unitary council would streamline and simplify services for residents – something that is long overdue and that residents certainly tell us they want.”
He added working with district and parish councils and other organisations like businesses and the police was key to successfully modernising local government in the county.
But district councillor George Sandy (Con, Burnham Lent Rise and Taplow), who is also chairman of Taplow Parish Council, feared a countywide unitary could be too remote.
He said: “It would need a certain number of local councillors who know the area - not running it from Aylesbury.”
He added an alternative smaller unitary authority created from the merger of South Bucks, Chiltern and Wycombe councils would be economically better for residents.