One council - more cash for towns?

PUBLISHED: 02:01 24 April 2008 | UPDATED: 09:00 10 June 2010

RADICAL proposals from the county council call for East Devon District Council and seven other local authorities to be scrapped - and replaced by a Devon 'super-council'. The ambitious plans are the county's response to the Government's boundary review an

RADICAL proposals from the county council call for East Devon District Council and seven other local authorities to be scrapped - and replaced by a Devon 'super-council'.The ambitious plans are the county's response to the Government's boundary review and would see the end of the current county council and eight district councils.Three unitary authorities, Plymouth, Torbay and one to cover the rest of Devon, would run services with Exeter becoming the capital of a new Devon.If successful the new arrangements, endorsed by leader Brian Greenslade and shadow leader John Hart, would mean more power and cash devolved to Devon's 28 coastal and market towns.Key to the proposal is better utilising the £1.4 billion spent by the other councils last year and devolution of powers to local City and Community Boards and town halls - who would be responsible for providing services to meet local priorities.The report also suggests that a single unitary authority should be created, capable of managing big issues like social care and education.This unitary model would reduce the cost of local government by slimming down collective administration and eradicating unnecessary bureaucracy caused by duplication of functions and services.A network of boards would work with community forums and town and parish councils to determine local needs. The boards would also work with other authorities such as health, the police, local business and the voluntary sector. The council submitted their plans to the Boundary Committee this week, who will be scrutinising the suggestions over the next 12 weeks.Leader of the County Council, Cllr Brian Greenslade said: "The balance we have to strike is between councils forming that are too small to be effective, and ensuring a larger council is responsive to the communities of Devon. We see the most potential in Devon having three unitary councils: Plymouth, Torbay and Devon."City and Community Boards will identify local priorities and will hold public services to account."We seek to turn Local Government on its head!"Shadow Leader of the Council, Cllr John Hart said: "The people we serve are not so concerned about who provides their service but they do want services that are delivered locally and efficiently. With economies of scale this new type of organisation must produce savings which can then be reinvested into services for people.

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