UNITARY CAMPAIGN: ‘Consensus from councils is the real challenge’

Martin Tett
Martin Tett

County council leader Martin Tett says finding a concensus on going unitary among Bucks councils will be extremely difficult.

Aylesbury Vale District Council has already signalled its desire to break away from the county, while Mr Tett believes any unitary plan should be within a single Bucks authority, scrapping district councils and giving more devolved powers to parish and town authorities.

AVDC leader Neil Blake

AVDC leader Neil Blake

Mr Tett did, however, have a solution – an independent study which would put forward the best option.

He said: “What [government minister Greg Clark] has been saying is that he wants to see a consensus. But we are never going to get a consensus because everyone is going to argue for their bit to be the unitary. So up until now I have not seen the point of researching this if it is not going to go anywhere. If the government states clearly what criteria it requires then it might be worth it.

“What we need is a clear statement from the government and then we should be looking at all of the options together based on one piece of independent research. Then we can give these options to Greg Clark and let him decide which gives the best services and is the most sustainable long term.”

And Neil Blake, leader of Aylesbury Vale District Council, added: “I don’t believe that a county sized unitary would work. I think both sides of the county are just too different and I don’t think it lends itself particularly because of their make up.

“The whole game is changing, with places like Northants deciding that they don’t want a countywide unitary.”