New unitary council idea

PUBLISHED: 01:01 20 March 2008 | UPDATED: 08:54 10 June 2010

BUSINESS representatives in East Devon have put forward their initial thoughts on the future structure of local government in Devon. In response to a Boundary Committee review of how councils can best serve the interests of residents across the county, me

BUSINESS representatives in East Devon have put forward their initial thoughts on the future structure of local government in Devon.In response to a Boundary Committee review of how councils can best serve the interests of residents across the county, members of East Devon Business Forum agreed that new unitary councils, broadly based on Travel To Work Areas (TTWA), would work best so far as commercial interests are concerned.The Forum said it would support a unitary Eastern Devon Council taking in not just Exeter and East Devon, but possibly also Crediton, Cullompton and Dawlish, based on the Exeter Travel to Work Area as the best solution for business in East Devon. They voted to invite colleagues in Exeter to discuss ideas for their mutual benefit.The Forum considered that a unitary Devon County Council would be too large and remote for the needs of business. Graham Brown, chairman of East Devon Business Forum, said: "Members felt we should promote the concept of a new unitary council reflecting the economic realities of the area, particularly the wide Exeter travel to work area. "Such an area for a new council would match the economic reality and bring with it greater effectiveness in providing the necessary strategic leadership. "A council covering such an area would not run the risk of being too big and possibly perceived as remote by local people." Mark Shepherd, manager of Waitrose in Sidmouth, said: "We understand that economic leadership is one of the criteria the Boundary Committee are looking for as they seek ideas and concepts for the structure of local government across Devon."They want new authorities to provide strong, effective and accountable strategic and economic leadership. "They also want to see councils work with their local community, business community, voluntary sector and other stakeholders to create a vision for a place's success, economically, socially and environmentally - and go on to deliver it. "We believe a unitary council based on the Exeter Travel To Work Area would be the best way to ensure success."Speaking to the Forum, Councillor Sara Randall Johnson, leader of EDDC, said: "East Devon is a major growth area for the region, in terms of jobs and housing. "It is Exeter's land bank for residential and business development and has a great deal to offer the region's economy. "We fully intend to make the most of the advantages that this position offers for the benefit of our residents as well as existing and future business enterprises.

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