MAY I be permitted to set out a few facts on our various layers of councils; county, district, town/parish.

The push for unitary authorities came from a Labour government about 20 years ago.

Those counties that opted for them have coped well with changing circumstances and finances.

Somerset had a Referendum which turned down the idea but the districts did agree towards merging various back office functions i.e. we now have a cross-district Building Control Services.

West Somerset had too sparse a population to maintain a full range of services and was faced with being carved up or joining another authority. 

It voted (to the chagrin of a certain MP) to join Taunton Deane.

The result has been a shared chief executive and back office savings. 

Objections to the creation of the new SWAT (Somerset West and Taunton District Council) have delayed the process and both directly and indirectly cost us rate payers money.

We are moving from a top down to a bottom-up world.

Reality now faces us – we just cannot afford all these tiers of administration.
Talks are going on and we await a consultants’ report setting out the options for creating a unitary/ies for the county of Somerset.

Kingston St Mary