Council leader ‘gobsmacked’ over lack of unitary decision

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The leader of Bucks County Council Martin Tett has said he is “gobsmacked” a final decision on the major-authority shake-up in Bucks has still not been made.

A consultation into plans to scrap all councils in the county and replace them with one “super authority” came to a close at the end of May – and a final decision was expected over the summer.

However it now looks as though news of the county’s fate will not be revealed until October – with Cllr Tett, branding the delay “ridiculous”.

Speaking in an interview this week he said: “The reality is we submitted back in September 2016, it is hard to believe it has been two years.

“I felt like sending the minister an anniversary cake and saying ‘congratulations it is now two years’.

“We started around six months before that, so for us it is two and a half years it has been going on.

“It is like a carrot that is constantly being dangled in front of you in terms of a time scale.

“It is just up to the minister now to make a conclusion on this and let us all either move forward to implement it, or try and make the best of what we have got.

“I am just gobsmacked it has taken so long.”

In 2016 Bucks County Council unveiled “super council” plans after the current council system was branded “outdated”.

However district council leaders opposed the county’s plans, formulating their own proposals to create two unitary councils instead.

In March then secretary of state for local government, Sajid Javid, said he was “minded to approve” plans for a unitary authority and subsequently launched a period of representation – inviting people to send their views to government.

A statement from the department of communities, housing and local government said the representations are being considered and “an announcement will be made in due course”.