AS the county of Somerset (without North Somerset) we need to have a strong clear voice about how we see ourselves and where we are going as that county.

A single unitary authority will give us this.

We can then sell ourselves as the Cradle of England – Alfred in the eyes of many was the first king whose influence extended beyond the West country – his coins are found in London and the Midlands and his daughter became the queen of Mercia (if I have got my history right!).

His grandson initiated the basics of the legal system and the administrative system of shires and sheriffs which is still with us today.

READ MORE: Row brewing over unitary council plan for Somerset

We already have joint working in various fields. Housing: there is a joint housing waiting list and a Joint Strategic Housing Market Survey of the numbers to build. Building Regulations/control is now a combined district service. The Quantock Joint Advisory Committee involves two districts and the county. A number of “back office “ services are already shared.

The overall direction will be centralised but the devolvement of actual service delivery depends on the type of service.

Different services operate best at different levels. This is where I suspect we need to do some practical thinking.

Each area has different needs and different priorities in their requirements.

Staying as we are and tweaking the system is ignoring the fact that the way many services are being delivered is changing and there are more changes coming – many from unexpected sources.

This is the problem; some change can be expected but some is sudden and often unexpected. That is the reality of life – most uncomfortable and challenging!

Kingston St Mary