'Super council' for Devon - more say for residents

MORE say by tax-payers on what council priorities should be, more say on how services should be run and greater democratic accountability could be the future of Devon.

MORE say by tax-payers on what council priorities should be, more say on how services should be run and greater democratic accountability could be the future of Devon.

The Boundary Committee for England says they have added 'flesh to the bones' of two controversial draft proposals, released this week, for a county run by a single 'super council'.

The first is one council to run all services in Devon except Torbay and Plymouth; the second proposal is the same but with an extra council for Exeter and Exmouth and the surrounding area.

The draft document for the first time begins to address specific concerns in the areas of democratic accountability and cost - two of the arguments against a unitary council.


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Opponents say a single council would be too large - with councillors potentially living miles away from the areas they represent.

However this new document discusses how people should 'receive services tailored to their individual situation' by understanding the needs and expectations of communities.

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This would be done through 'direct engagement' between the councils and residents through community boards, or possibly 'clusters' of parish councils working in concert.

This 'two-way' process could also see power devolved to existing town halls and parish councils - which could include 'delegated' decision making and budgets.

The report, penned by Max Caller, chairman of the Boundary Committee for England said: "There is an imperative to ensure that, as far as possible, no individual citizen or community is disadvantaged by any proposals and that there is equality of opportunity to participate in local affairs."

He added: "We want people to look carefully at what we're proposing and then tell us what they think and why. Any evidence we receive from this stage will add to that which we obtained in our consultation last year.

"You might want to tells us, among other things, which proposal you prefer, how one or both could be made better, or how you feel the community empowerment arrangements could work for your village or town."

Responses can be made by filling an online form at www.boundarycommittee.org.uk before

May 14 2009.

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