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Somerset County Council backs plans to abolish District bodies despite opposition

It looks like five district councils across Somerset could be abolished as plans for exactly that have been backed by the County Council.

A vote this afternoon (29/07) has seen the One Somerset idea approved by the County Council despite opposition from the district bodies.

The County Council claims the change will lead to improved public services, better outcomes and less confusion for Somerset residents.

"This was a big step, a really historic step, but one that will end confusion over which council does what and bring real benefits to our residents, businesses and communities,” County Council Leader David Fothergill said.

"I’ve invited leaders from all parties to work with me to ensure we get it right for Somerset."

The plan will now be submitted to the government for a final ruling.

The County Council claims 60 percent of those who took part in a survey on the issue support moving to a single council, but the district councils have repeatedly fought against the idea.

Earlier this month South Somerset District Council confirmed it cannot support the case.

"South Somerset District Council agrees that widespread change is needed to create a better future for our communities and better connect local services with our residents," a statement released at the time said.

"But it does not believe the county council's One Somerset proposal will do this."

The District Council claimed the idea "is based on failed examples of change," features "inadequate evidence" and demonstrates "a high risk of bad outcomes for residents and communities".

Further consultation on the idea will take place in the autumn with the aim of a new single council being up and running from 2022. 

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