Somerset Unitary signed into law
The creation of the new unitary authority, Somerset Council has now been signed into law. The document creating the new authority is the Somerset Structural Changes Order 2022. After passing through the Commons and the Lords, Kemi Badenoch signed the document yesterday. It paves the way for the new Somerset Council to be established on 1 April 2023.
The order sets out the responsibility for building the single unitary council. This goes to a new Implementation Executive, made up of representatives from the existing four districts and county councils.
This is the new council that will replace Somerset County Council, Mendip, Sedgemoor, Somerset West and Taunton and South Somerset on 1 April 2023.
The signing of the order also paves the way for elections. Ironically we could not have held the 5 May elections in many parts of Somerset without it. Not that you would think so given how many prospective candidates have been actively canvassing over the past few weeks!
The Order also means that all towns and parishes in Somerset will hold elections on 5 May. Whether that was the normal date for elections for them or not.
The 5 May will also see the election of unitary councillors to replace the sitting county councillors. These new councillors will be responsible for setting up the unitary and running it through to the next election date.
The formal notice of elections will be published on Monday 21 March. If you want to stand, nomination papers for prospective candidates must to be submitted by 4pm on 5 April. Papers must be submitted to your local district council offices.
District councillors will continue to serve on the district councils for one more year, until their abolition in 2023.
These are big changes, but of course with change comes opportunity.
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