Nottinghamshire County Council to Vote on Abolition of Boroughs

Paul Nathanail writes: Next Thursday’s county council includes a motion to move to a unitary authority – a move that would involve abolishing the Borough Council‎.

The agenda is at:
http://www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/dms/Meetings/tabid/70/ctl/ViewMeetingPublic/mid/397/Meeting/3959/Committee/513/SelectedTab/Documents/Default.aspx

Motion Three
This Council:-

a) agrees that the current ‘two-tier’ structure of the County Council and seven district councils is an inefficient and ineffective way to deliver services in Nottinghamshire, especially at a time when local government finances are under severe pressure;

b) agrees that forming a unitary council for Nottinghamshire would pool all existing resources and release approximately £20-£30 million pounds of public money annually, currently tied up in bureaucracy;

c) agrees that a unitary authority would achieve economies of scale and deliver a more responsive service to residents by:-

i) creating a single headquarters and management team for the new council to replace the eight headquarters, chief executives and senior management teams currently serving the County Council and the seven district councils;

ii) bringing all council services in Nottinghamshire together under one roof, removing duplication and requiring fewer buildings, which would also deliver capital receipts for reinvestment by disposing of surplus property;

iii) retaining two councillors per electoral division to serve the principles of localism, but removing the confusion caused by ‘two-tier’ local government where residents are frequently unclear whether they should raise issues with district councillors or county councillors;

iv) establishing single systems for council tax collection, waste management, housing and planning;

v) providing a proactive solution to the current budget challenges facing the County and district councils and thereby protecting critical services, such as adult social care, potentially avoiding steep and prolonged increases in council tax and other charges;

d) Agrees to write to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities & Local Government formally stating Nottinghamshire County Council’s support for a unitary council for Nottinghamshire

e) Instructs officers to continue their work preparing a formal case.

Councillor Mrs Kay Cutts MBE                 Councillor Reg Adair

‎I would be interested in our borough councillors who are also county councillors to share what their voting intentions are.

Paul Nathanail

19 Comments

  1. Absolutely disgusting. It would be very interesting to see how the Borough Councillors who are also County Councillrs vote for this motion.

    I am proud to be a Borough Councillor and put 100% into all that I do to help others in the wider community.

    Sadly I can’t say the same for the current County Councillors for this area and this really worries me. They don’t do anything now, this would lead to them doing even less.

    I personally think we need to keep the Borough Council as so much positive comes from the Borough Council.

    Sad times ahead it really is.

    1. Cllr Richard Jackson, conservative leader of Broxtowe district council, has already made it abundantly clear that he wants rid of his own district council. Whatever happened to the Tory mantra of ‘localism’?
      Here’s another take on the argument: Notts County Council has consistently failed to deliver the efficient local services in Broxtowe that Broxtowe people need and want, therefore let’s get rid of the county level of superfluous bureaucracy and vote for a unitary status for just Broxtowe.

  2. if we take away the Borough councils we take away everything that local councils have built up,you will lose support for local carnivals,sports and leisure.
    What do you think will happen when money gets tight,do you think that you will still get funding for local amenities or do you think all the money will go to Nottingham city.

  3. More to the point; what do WE the inhabitants and strictly speaking the employers of said councillors and councils think. I doubt if there is going to much in the way of savings, thus reducing council tax. Perhaps a local, none advisory referendum would be a way to find out. Does Ms Soubry know yet?

  4. Will it make local government more efficient?
    Will it result in equal or more accountability to the electorate?
    Most important of all, will it reduce Council Tax?
    If the answer is yes, it should be implemented.

    1. There’s about as much chance of any of your three questions being answered ‘Yes’ Howard, as there is of you voting Labour.

  5. Absolutely delighted. 80% of key services are already delivered by County Councils so moving to a single unitary authority makes absolute sense both structurally and financially from an efficiency perspective. At the end of the day, we are largely talking about housing, local planning, waste and leisure services being passed over to also be managed by a unitary authority. The envisaged cost efficiencies alone (£20-£30m) speak volumes. Unitaries are tried, tested and compelling models – first introduced back in 1986 just 12 years after the 1974 local government two tier re-organiastion. Time for change.

    1. There may well be a case for a reduction In the number of borough councils but definitely not under the aegis of the failed NCC.
      Collaboration between BC’s has already brought about efficiencies in computerisation and housing, especially for Broxtowe. The existing County boundaries hinder cluster groupings of adjacent councils such as Erewash,Broxtowe and Rushcliffe. NCC is too sprawling to be cogniscent of the bonds between neighbouring communities.
      Not to forget that Broxtowe is also a suburb of Nottingham and might want to consider incorporation with the City Council rather than rather than NCC.

      1. Ian,

        In the unlikely event that the voice of Bramcote is taken into account in all this, I doubt many of us would vote to incorporate into the City as you put it.

        Rich Harman’s suggestion that Broxtowe becomes the Unitary authority has some attraction and would fit with your assessment of NCC. NCC is foisting changes on Bramcote that few of us want and that our children may well come to lament. Hardly a great advertisement for life under Trent Bridge.

        Paul

  6. Unitary councils make sense for cities but not for a county that stretches from Doncaster to beyond Nottingham! At a time when people feel remote from the political process, making it even more remote is a poor idea.

    This is all about money and a power grab. They are wrong to believe that there will be a unitary dividend. The cost of amalgamating housing for example will be huge. Then there’s the borrowing they will have to take on. Broxtowe alone stands at around £80m.

    The Conservatives want us to believe that they are good with money when in reality they are pretty poor with it. Yes there will be some savings but the lack of control of local planning, leisure facilities, amenities, housing, etc. is not a price worth paying.

    As County councillor for Bramcote & Beeston North I will be voting against abolition of the Borough Council.

  7. The current two tier system is complicated, wasteful and no longer financially sustainable. Without change, important local services are already being reduced and may even be cut entirely.

    The unitary model has successfully been adopted in most areas of the country and has proved to be simpler, better for services, more local and most importantly – costs less to run. Indeed there are now some 55 unitary council authorities. The link below details them all – including large rural / semi rural as well as city unitaries.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_unitary_authorities_of_England

    An envisaged £20-£30million savings PER ANNUM available to fund front line services is a saving worth making. Even half of that amount would be !

    As a constituent I hope Councillors put aside the ‘party politics’ and get rid of the existing inefficient and wasteful governance and management structures by voting in favour of forming a unitary authority.

    1. I think it has very little to do with savings ;it’s the Conservatives trying to bolster their shire supporters and weaken the ability of communities to have a voice.
      The other end of the telescope could be a view to abolish Parish councils which generally only have power over allotments but require a salaried clerk, take up an awful lot of officer and borough and county councillor time with little effect.
      The Tory mantra is national politics first and fudge or destroy local irritants.

    2. PaulD – thanks for the link. A County wide unitary authority across Notts would be the largest in terms of population – by some 250,000.

      Unitaries have many advantages – some of which you have articulated very well – but unitary does not mean county and Notts CC has not earned the privilege of being in the hot seat to provide Bramcote with the sort of support and services we need and deserve.

      Quite simply putting our local government eggs into the Trent Bridge basket would be risky to say the least.

  8. Unitary councils are cross party rather than dominated by any one single political party. Of the 55 unitary councils, 23 are conservative led, 20 are Labour led and of the remaining 12 that have no party with a clear majority, 3 are either run by the Liberal Democrats as a minority or in coalition with another party. Clearly communities still have a voice and can and do make a choice.

    Actually it was David Miliband as the Blairite local government and communities minister who was really keen to set about introducing unitary councils ……which ironicaly was seen as a “plot” to replace the two-tier shire structure with super-large unitary councils as part of a political manoeuvre to rupture the Tory county council stronghold !! So quite the opposite to your take. Of course, depends on which side of the political spectrum you sit.

    Clearly replacing 7 councils that deliver the same services with a single delivery and governance body IS ABOUT making cost efficiencies and savings. To the tune of £20 – £30m per annum after start up costs are met.

  9. And for information, this is Motion 4 for debate at the Council meeting on Thursday morning…

    Motion Four
    This Council acknowledges that historically, the East Midlands has not received its fair share of funding from the Government, and therefore welcomes any efforts to form a strategic alliance with the region’s County Councils and our region’s three cities to improve this situation.

    This Council is however, concerned that four County Council Leaders in this region are wishing to pursue discussions on Local Government reorganisation with the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government.

    This Council values localism and believes that any discussion involving the Secretary of State regarding future democratic arrangements in the East Midlands should be done with residents in mind.

    To this end, this council proposes that any future discussions regarding the potential reorganisation of Local Government in Nottinghamshire should involve all District, Borough and City Council Leaders and Members of Parliament.

    Councillor Alan Rhodes Councillor Jason Zadrozny

  10. Steve Carr: Just so that readers have the information, this is a list of all Broxtowe County Councillors and how they voted on the Abolition of the Borough Council motion yesterday.

    Against the motion:
    Steve Carr (LibDem) Bramcote & Beeston North
    Kate Foale (Lab). Beeston South & Central

    For the motion:
    Richard Jackson (Con) Toton, Chilwell and Attenborough
    Eric Kerry (Con). Toton, Chilwell and Attenborough
    John Doddy (Con). Stapleford and Central Broxtowe
    John Longden (Con). Stapleford and Central Broxtowe
    Philip Owen (Con) Nuthall and Kimberley
    John Handley (Con). Greasley
    Tony Harper (Con). Eastwood

  11. The online media covered this story yesterday and their accounts are worth a read:

    https://westbridgfordwire.com/breaking-notts-cc-approves-plans-for-unitary-authority-that-could-abolish-borough-and-district-councils/

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-nottinghamshire-44819546

    https://www.nottinghampost.com/news/local-news/how-plans-super-council-nottinghamshire-1776377

    The Evening Post outlines three options:
    Option One – Do nothing and maintain the present two-tier system.

    Option Two – Replace the seven district and borough councils and the county council with a single unitary authority

    Option Three – Create a unitary authority for Nottinghamshire, and eventually expand the Nottingham city’s border to include the wider urban area – including Bramcote.

  12. There is of course a fourth option – abolish the County Council and transfer all its assets to the Borough/ District councils in which the assets are located, thereby strengthening local decision making in the ever-diminishing powers that local government retains. The duty to cooperate could be strengthened to ensure efficiencies of scale and sharing of community facilities such as waste transfer stations.

    But that does not seem to be being considered.

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