Legal challenge poised to begin
PUBLISHED: 13:44 18 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 three unitary authorities; Plymouth, Torbay and one to cover the rest of Devon.
EDDC says 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 in Norfolk.
The legal challenge could run into a six figure sum, and the judge ordered the East Anglian 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 Boundary Committee should provide her with its final recommendation on 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."
The final decision is expected towards the end of March 2009.
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