Exeter to go it alone as EDDC saved from the axe

EAST Devon District Council will not be axed, the government has confirmed in the past few minutes. Instead, Exeter has been given the green light to run the city s services as a unitary authority following a review by the Boundary Committee.

EAST Devon District Council will not be axed, the government has confirmed in the past few minutes.

Instead, Exeter has been given the green light to run the city's services as a unitary authority following a review by the Boundary Committee.

The rest of Devon will remain unchanged.

Local Government Minister Rosie Winterton made the announcement today (Wednesday).

The Government has decided that a unitary structure for Exeter would be a far more potent economic force than the current, two-tier local government, for delivering growth for the city's residents and businesses.

Economic development is the Government's highest priority today and Ministers believe that Exeter as a centre of regional economic activity needs strong decisive local leadership. A unitary structure will put the city's leaders who know their area and people best at the heart of promoting economic growth, reducing unemployment and rebuilding the local economy.

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Ministers were impressed by the strong and united support the proposal for unitary status for Exeter enjoyed from the City Council, the people of Exeter, Exeter University and the Exeter business community.

After taking into account local views, Boundary Committee advice and other relevant information, the Government decided there was no option but to rule out a unitary authority for the whole of Devon, as the proposal did not command support from any of the local councils.

Ministers also felt that it was not clear how such a large new council would ensure it adequately understood and reflected the needs of the diverse and dispersed communities with Devon.

The proposals for Exeter will now be voted on by Parliament before they become law. If Parliament approves the proposals, the affected councils can start putting in place transitional arrangements ready for elections to the new councils in 2011.

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