Vale leader welcomes unitary talks

AVDC leader Neil Blake
AVDC leader Neil Blake
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The leader of Aylesbury Vale District Council, Neil Blake, said he is pleased the debate on unitary is moving forward – but reiterated his belief that single Vale council is the best option.

It comes after Bucks County Council agreed to commission a report examining how a single county-wide unitary would work and raised the possibility of an independent body then being set up to recommend the best way forward.

In a statment Mr Blake said: “The unitary discussion is one that needs to be had and I’m really pleased that talks on the subject are moving forward.

“The main stumbling block for AVDC’s unitary proposal, initially raised back in 2014, has been the reluctance of other councils to actively engage in this important matter.

“As was made clear in the original Bucks Business First report, doing nothing is simply not an option and therefore in my view opening up discussions on the unitary question is the first step to finding a solution.

“Residents are clearly not getting the best deal under the confusing two-tier local council system currently in place, and having different services provided by district councils and the county council is far from cost effective.

“As shown in our recently published LG Futures report on unitary, we believe that two unitary authorities for Bucks, north and south, is the best solution.

“Aylesbury Vale is already the second largest district in England and with a population predicted to grow to 250,000 in the next two decades, it needs to have an ambitious, accessible and efficient local council that can effectively satisfy the needs of the growing community.

“I don’t believe a single countywide Bucks unitary would be the right solution for the Vale’s residents, nor indeed for the rest of Buckinghamshire’s residents either.

“I will be working closely with the leaders in the other councils to take the initiative forward, so we can progress this in a positive and professional way.”