Alternative to 'super council'

LAWYERS for the district council say there is an alternative to scrapping all of Devon s councils - and creating one massive authority.

LAWYERS for the district council say there is an alternative to scrapping all of Devon's councils - and creating one massive authority.

Last week the three senior judges in the Court of Appeal effectively said that the Boundary Commission where wrong only to give two options - both for a unitary council.

They were a single council administering all of Devon except Torbay and Plymouth, and a similar proposal just with an additional council covering Exmouth and Exeter and the surrounding parishes.

In the 62-page ruling the judges said that "there is no presumption in favour of unitary local government", meaning that the Boundary Commission was wrong to assume that only a unitary solution would do.

This means that retaining the existing 'two-tier' set-up, with Devon County Council and eight district councils and forming what is called an 'Integrated Devon', is areal possibility.

East Devon District Council says that the nine councils - District Councils, Exeter City Council and Devon County Council - would work to ensure taxpayers got a better service.

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EDDC leader Miss Sara Randall Johnson said: "This option has the major advantage of not involving councils in the massive up-front costs of a wholesale reorganisation.

"This is a very risky business. No one can accurately forecast how much these costs will be. In Cornwall, they ended up being nearly three times the estimated cost.

" really does seem rather daft to invest up to �70 million in a unitary scheme that could cost even more to set up and has no guarantee of making the necessary savings in the allotted time."

Councillor James McInnes, Leader of West Devon Borough Council, said: "I'm delighted that the Appeal judges have identified that it should not just be a choice between the two options that the Boundary Committee has now formally put on the table. Halfway through the last consultation that the Boundary Committee held, we were told that the status quo was still an option and that should still be the case.