Super Council plans running out of time

CONTROVERSIAL plans to create a single super council for the whole of Devon, is running out of time.

CONTROVERSIAL plans to create a single 'super council' for the whole of Devon, is running out of time.

Appeal court judges ruled this week that that the Boundary Committee had made legal errors with plans to create a single council to run the whole county, save Plymouth and Torbay - or a separate unitary council centred on Exmouth and Exeter.

And while they stopped short of ordering the Committee to start again, with the original December and February deadlines to report back missed, the new ruling means it is unlikely that the July deadline will be met either.

The likelihood of a general election next spring, the summer commons recess this year and no indication whether a new Conservtive Government would continue the local Government review, the whole process could come to nothing.

If the Boundary Committee's plans become law, East Devon would be one of the eight district councils in Devon to be scrapped - but a vindicated EDDC heard top judges support most of its grounds for appeal against a previous judicial review.

They argued that the process did not allow any other option other than unitary proposals, that the status quo wasn't even on the table.

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Sir Anthony May said that the Boundary Committee had promoted its plans for change "on the mistaken legal basis that it was only open to them to consult upon and recommend a single proposal."

Councillor Sara Randall Johnson, Leader of EDDC, said: "This judgement is a further vindication of our decision to challenge the Boundary Committee because we felt they were not handling this important process in the right way.

"We happen to believe that local government in Devon is not broken and doesn't need fixing.

"But if the Government is hell-bent on destroying it, we will do our damnedest to ensure they come up with the best possible alternative - and do it fairly."

But a spokesman for the Boundary Committee, said: "We're pleased that both the High Court and the Court of Appeal have upheld our process and allowed it to continue.

"Our focus now must be on moving as swiftly as possible for the benefit of residents in Devon...