Vale breakaway from Bucks ‘still on the table’

Cllr Neil Blake of Aylesbury Vale District Council
Cllr Neil Blake of Aylesbury Vale District Council
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Neighbouring councils outside Bucks could take on services in the Vale if the district breaks away from the county.

Twelve months ago district councillors voted to look into whether there was a case for Aylesbury Vale becoming a unitary authority and taking on services currently provided by Bucks County Council, such as highways and social services.

The county council is firmly opposed to the idea.

Despite very little to emerge from the district council since then, its leader Neil Blake said it was still very much ‘on the table’.

He said: “We have not forgotten about it. Late last year the government encouraged local authorities to deal with whoever they think neccessary to arrive at a deal to save money.

“Up until November the government was rather loath to encourage unitary unless it had complete agreement [from all affected parties]. But they’ve opened it up so now we can talk to other authorities outside our county boundary which is what we’re doing.

“If a neighbouring authority has a good track record maintaining highways why not extend Aylesbury Vale highways to them? We obviously don’t have expertise in-house to take over highways or childrens’ services. That’s just one of the ideas.

“It’s not about securing power but providing services more cost effectively than at the moment.”