"A ‘super’ council can’t be truly local", says Howard Mordue
Cllr Mordue wrote:
"In last week’s paper AVDC Leader Neil Blake wrote about the unitary debate and urged you to tell the Secretary of State your opinion on the future of local government in Bucks. I can’t echo his words strongly enough.
"There are a couple of key things we should all remember here - there is no local consensus on a huge ‘super’ council being the best way forward and from what I’m hearing on the ground, there’s little local support.
"Bucks County Council finally released some of their own research this week which showed that two thirds of Bucks’ residents support the districts’ two unitary option. This was carried out by a highly reputable, independent firm. A shame we weren’t made aware of it sooner!
"I’ve been a councillor in Buckingham South for seven years and a Town Councillor for over thirty and for me, it’s all about the local community. I’m genuinely worried about the prospect of a huge council where local communities will get lost. Yes I know BCC claims a ‘super’ council will have community hubs, community boards, area planning committees, a devolution offer and more. In fact, it sounds like some sort of community idyll. But, crucially, as BCC itself says, none of this is ‘set in stone’, so what exactly does it mean? How would it work? Do the parishes actually want it? From what I’m hearing, there are plenty who don’t!
"There can only be one planning authority and that will have a majority of the reduced number of Councillors from the south of the County, making decisions in the north.
"With the districts’ proposal for two new separate unitary councils, the fact that both the north and south of the county would each receive all their services from their own, all-purpose council, certainly is set in stone. So, it would definitely be more local and by being so, would be able to deliver services more effectively and would be more accountable to different communities.
"AVDC and our other districts have a strong track record in service transformation and savings. I feel this has really informed their proposal. Let’s be honest, what we need is – transformation. Things cannot go on as they are. Take children’s services – repeated failure on a county-wide level. It needs fresh thinking, so we can turn things around and improve lives, as indeed we should. We also don’t want to be in a situation where, as in Northants, the truly desperate County is finally being broken into two. The government must make the right decision for two unitaries for Bucks now, before we quite reach those extremes.
"At the end of the day this is all about people’s lives. So please, please spare a little time to have your say on which proposal you think would be best for the future of Bucks – this could well be a once in a lifetime opportunity. You can email Secretary of State at State at: