Unitary bid falls through

EXETER S bid to run their own affairs, and with it Exmouth s chance to be elevated to the largest community run by county hall, is dead in the water.

EXETER'S bid to run their own affairs, and with it Exmouth's chance to be elevated to the largest community run by county hall, is dead in the water.

The new Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition Government has emphatically signalled their intentions to halt the process.

In the coalition's new policy document the Government says: "We will stop the restructuring of council's in Norfolk, Suffolk and Devon..."

Devolution to unitary status would have seen the city become a unitary authority and run their own services like schools and social services independent of county hall.


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This would have elevated Exmouth to being the largest urban area run by county hall and opened the door for the town to be the business centre of a new Devon.

Last week a delegation from the city had unsuccessful talks with Government ministers to argue the case for the city to go it alone.

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Supporters of unitary argue it would have led to cost savings, cut public confusion over service provision and increased accountability.

But opponents believe that Exeter is not large enough to be viable as a unitary authority, and the remaining rural communities in Devon would also suffer.

Leader of Devon County Council John Hart said: "We never sought this reorganisation and the actions we took to contest the former Labour Government's proposals were not only in the best interests of the people of Devon but of the City of Exeter as well."

Other proposals for the next five years includes scrapping plans that would see emergency fire calls in Devon handled in Somerset.

The document adds: "We will...stop plans to force the regionalisation of the fire service.

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