District lawyers go to the High Court

PUBLISHED: 09:18 17 December 2008 | UPDATED: 10:12 10 June 2010

LAWYERS for East Devon District Council go to the High Court tomorrow (December 19) - in the first stage of challenging proposals to abolish Devon s district councils and replace them with a super council .

LAWYERS for East Devon District Council go to the High Court tomorrow (December 19) - in the first stage of challenging proposals to abolish Devon's district councils and replace them with a 'super council'.

Radical proposals by the Boundary Commission call for East Devon District Council and seven other local authorities' to be scrapped, leaving just three unitary authorities; Plymouth, Torbay and one to cover the rest of Devon - but EDDC are challenging the move.

They say the plans are not legal because they do not address affordability - one of the five key criteria referred to in Exeter's failed bid for self determination last year- and their refusal to consider a 'two-tier' option.

However last week a judge ruled against a similar case against councils in Norfolk that had stark similarities and worrying overtones for East Devon.

The legal challenge could run into a six figure sum, and the judge ordered the councils to pay three-quarters of the legal costs incurred by the Boundary Committee as well as their own fees, adding to the spiralling multi-million pound bill even before any final decision has been made.

The Secretary of State at the Department of Communities and Local Government, Hazel Blears, announced last week that the date when the Boundary Committee should provide her with its final recommendation was now February 13 2009 - six weeks later than previously scheduled.

A spokesman for the district council said: "The outcome of the Council's application for a Judicial Review into proposals for a Unitary Devon should be announced after the Christmas holiday."

She is expected make her decision on the future of local government in Devon towards the end of March 2009.

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