Buckinghamshire councils propose two unitary authorities

Aylesbury Vale, Chiltern, South Bucks and Wycombe District councils have submitted proposals to abolish the county’s five councils and create two unitary authorities.

The proposal, which involves basing the two unitary authorities in the north and south, has been submitted despite Buckinghamshire County Council’s opposition to the plan.

Martin Tett, Buckinghamshire County Council leader, argued: “All parties accept that a single unitary council would save the most money, protecting frontline services at a time when Buckinghamshire’s councils are facing severe financial challenges and better representing our residents’ interests locally and nationally.

“I firmly believe that one new, single council for Buckinghamshire will best serve the county’s residents and businesses. It would be a fresh start for Buckinghamshire and will make public services simpler, better value and more efficient, and will bring truly local services to all our communities.”

However, the four councils have argued the creation of two unitary authorities will save tax payers almost £58 million over a five year period.

Councillor Neil Blake, leader of Aylesbury Vale District Council countered: “We have always strongly advocated a much-needed change to the local government in Buckinghamshire. Not just a restructure, but real change. And real change requires new thinking. This formal submission to government means that we can now move this forward.”

Councillor Katrina Wood, leader of Wycombe District Council, added: “The difference between the north and south of Buckinghamshire, in terms of the economy, jobs and housing market, demographic and even the topographical geography, is significant.

“We strongly believe that these differences will be best served by the creation of two new, more locally accountable, unitary councils in the north and south of the county.”