Bucks cabinet agrees nominations for the shadow executive - as councils continue to clash over creation of unitary authority

Bucks County Council's offices
Bucks County Council's offices

District leaders have been urged to “work in the best interest of residents” as they continue to clash with the county council over the creation of a unitary authority in Buckinghamshire.

Yesterday morning (Monday) Bucks County Council’s cabinet agreed their nominations for the shadow executive – which will be tasked with managing the set up of the new council.

The team will consist of 17 members – eight from the county, eight from the four district councils plus the leader.

However, ongoing disagreements over how the unitary authority should be set up has led Wycombe, Chiltern and South Bucks district councils to take steps towards launching legal action against the government over the plans.

Aylesbury Vale District Council are following developments keenly but are not yet committing to joining the other districts in the legal proceedings.

During the cabinet meeting county council leader Martin Tett called for the district leaders to put “self-interests” aside and “get around the table” with him to plan for the unitary authority – which will be implemented by April 2020.

He said: “I would just say to colleagues from the district councils that the government has made it very clear how it wants this to be administered moving forward.

“We should not wait until the legal order is in place, we should voluntarily get around the table together to put the interests of our residents and our staff foremost and self-interest, quite frankly, should be taken off the table.

“Let’s all work together in the best interests of our residents.”

Cllr Tett has nominated councillors Bill Chapple, John Chilver, Anita Cranmer, Clive Harris, David Martin, Mark Shaw, Warren Whyte and Gareth Williams to sit on the shadow executive.

Cllrs Mike Appleyard, Noel Brown, Tim Butcher, David Carroll, Dev Dhillon, Netta Glover, Lin Hazell and Roger Reed have all been nominated as deputies.

Earlier this month secretary of state James Brokenshire confirmed a shadow authority made up of all 202 current county and district councillors in Bucks will be launched to implement the new unitary authority.

The shadow authority will be led by the shadow executive – which will be tasked with preparing the budget and setting the council tax.

Members of the districts criticised Mr Brokenshire’s “undemocratic” decision to appoint Cllr Tett as the leader of the shadow authority, with some fearing the unitary authority will be a “county council takeover”.

Concerns over “lack of local consent, late changes to what was proposed and the lack of reasons for making the changes” regarding the set-up of the unitary council all forced the districts towards the decision to take legal action.

Speaking after the meeting the county council's cabinet member for children’s services, Warren Whyte, called for the district leaders to put their nominations forward for the shadow executive as soon as possible so they can all “work together”.

He said: “I am really looking forward to taking part in the shadow executive.

“The amount of work that will need to be done over the next 12 months is pretty significant and I do hope our district colleagues will join the shadow executive as quickly as possible so we can work together and the best bits of all five councils find their way into the new council.”