Somerset Green reacts to Unitary debate
Yesterday we reported that the County Council elections in Somerset had been postponed. This is to allow elections to coincide with the creation of 1 or 2 new unitary authorities. So the Secretary of State is now consulting (exactly how is opaque) on which option we prefer.
The Green party’s Martin Dimery, a County Councillor for Frome, remains sceptical about the process. He told The Leveller: “There’s a logic to the single unitary authority. The current two tier system means roads and planning working separately; waste disposal and collection being the responsibility of separate councils; street parking and car parks belonging to different councils; likewise social services and housing. The problem is the sheer scale of Somerset, with 550,000 people spread over a huge area.“
“It is utterly unacceptable that a councillor on the planning committee from Minehead could reasonably be able to make an informed judgement about building a housing estate in Frome, or vice versa. That is why I would support the Stronger Somerset model which would keep services more localised by creating two authorities – East and West. I fear, however, the die is cast in favour of One Somerset, no matter what public consultation goes ahead. What the local MPs want is what we’ll get.”