A brand new county-wide unitary council will be established in Buckinghamshire, the Government confirmed today.  The announcement by Secretary of State James Brokenshire has been hailed as a ‘truly historic day’ by County Council leader Martin Tett.

The new council, which will replace the county council and four districts, will be simpler, better value and more local to Buckinghamshire communities than the current two-tier system, ultimately moving to a more sustainable future for the county.  Services which complement one another but are currently divided between the district and county councils such as bin collections, waste disposal, planning and roads, would be brought together under the single unitary council, resulting in more efficient, joined-up services for residents.

The Secretary of State said in his statement: “Having assessed both proposals against the criteria that we announced to the House on 28 February 2017 (PQ 65271), I have concluded that whilst both proposals meet the criterion for a “good deal of local support”, only the proposal for a single unitary council satisfies the criteria for “improving local government” and for “being a credible geography” and that in any event the proposal for a single unitary council is better able to meet the criteria overall. 

“Accordingly, I am today announcing that I have decided to implement, subject to Parliamentary approval, the locally-led proposal to replace the existing five councils across Buckinghamshire – the two tier structure of Buckinghamshire County Council and the district councils of Aylesbury Vale, Chiltern, South Bucks and Wycombe – by one new single unitary district council, and that I have decided not to implement the proposal for two new unitary councils.”

View the Secretary of State’s full statement at: https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2018-11-01/HCWS1058/ 

View Martin Tett from Bucks CC at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=veYMvsmlxFg

Clearly this will have a significant impact on the Town and Parish Councils in the Buckinghamshire area.  Whilst we now know the shape of our future, we don’t yet have access to the plan of how this future will be achieved.  BMKALC will be working closely with the new authority to ensure that the needs of parishes are not ignored and will ensure that information is passed on to Councillors and Clerks at the earliest opportunity.