Council Closes Budget Gap but Tough Decisions Still Lie Ahead | Nottinghamshire County Council

Broxtowe Borough Councillor, Ian Tyler writes:

Nottinghamshire County Council

Difficult times for all councils.

The County Council continues to encourage the abolition of its borough councils as a cost saving measure.

Broxtowe Conservative councillors appear to support this measure.

Initially this may seem to some, a valid cost saving exercise. In practice this would be a validation of their policies “Bigger is better”. Local communities need to feel they have active proponents of their concerns: distancing their ability to influence decisions seems retrogressive. The current system has faults, it continues the idea of historical boundaries which do not take into account the changed economic generators in the East Midlands.

I’m open minded on alternatives but they need to be guided by a pragmatic approach. What is appropriate for rural Nottinghamshire may not be suitable for our City and suburban areas. The North of Nottinghamshire has more in common with Sheffield than Nottingham, the East perhaps more with Lincolnshire; the South, with the heart of industrial generation along the M1 corridor embracing Erewash, Broxtowe, Ashfield and Amber Valley. The proposition that Nottinghamshire County Council should be an overreaching Unitary Authority seems inappropriate.

We need a re-assessment of how best our local government should be altered to meet our changed criteria.

6 Comments

  1. I agree with Cllr Tyler in that the idea of Nottinghamshire County being a unitary authority for the dispersed, economically and geographically obsolete county boundaries is ludicrous! It reflects more on the medieval origins of Nottinghamshire in Robin Hood’s Sherwood Forest than anything over the last 500 years! If there is to be some change in the way that Nottingham is governed I think the actual Greater Nottingham is a more viable social and economic unit than Nottinghamshire.

    Greater Nottingham has a population of around 600,000 and is one of the largest cities in Britain yet the City of Nottingham council has only around 300,000 people within its boundaries. People like me who live in Broxtowe have no say in the running or development of our city and about 85% of our council tax is dispersed to bank-roll places like Retford, Mansfield and Newark. The effect is that Nottingham City Council has to make do with half the revenue of cities like Leeds or Sheffield in order to maintain the economic and social fabric of our great city. The fiasco of Broadmarsh shopping centre is just one example of a situation where a council with more funding and focus could take a more active role.

    Nottingham City Council has a smaller population than Derby or Leicester city councils, and yet has to deal with managing by far the greatest city in the East Midlands. Of course there should be other changes in how much control and freedom local authorities have over their functions and they should be properly funded. But change in the boundaries of many cities is in the air, and Nottingham will be left in the dust if we do not recognise the reality of our great city and take measures to bring it into the 20th – let alone the 21st centuries.

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  2. Most certainly. we do not want or need the whole of Nottinghamshire to be one authority as we in Broxtowe would surely lose much say in what happens within our local boundaries. There is so much diversity between the different areas in the County each with it’s own requirements which surely can only be met in many cases by the representation we have at the present time. There may well be room for some amalgamations or even divisions to ensure real local interests are represented but certainly bigger is not always better nor is too small the idea solution. I trust that all concerned will be consulted and much consideration is given before any decisions are made. It is even perhaps worth considering that some small changes in County boundaries may be thought beneficial in some areas to increase local interests where places across the County boundaries have common viewpoints relations and interests to each other. Or are these thoughts too radical?

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  3. Thank you Ian for your welcome contribution to the local Government reorganisation debate and your recognition of the need to make cost savings not least because of the the County Councils massive financial shortfall.

    Your ‘open minded’ approach to change is also to be very welcomed.
    As you and other correspondents are indicating you/they are saying that a one size fits all for a Unity County Is far from from Ideal.

    In consequence as a senior member of the Borough Council ruling administration may I suggest that you therefore press BBC to open discussions with other Authorities to discuss the necessary reorganisation alternatives In the best interests of maximising services at best possible financial advantage to Council Tax payers.

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    1. Martin, we started that ages ago. Every district in the County has come out strongly against a unitary authority. It seems that the only people perusing this are the leader of the County Council and her cronies at County Hall. Perhaps if she spoke to the district authorities (most of whom are Tory run, for better or for worse) she would realise why this is such a bad idea. If she doesn’t then the suspicion that this is more about personal power for her rather than getting a good deal for Notts residents will be strengthened.

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  4. It is very clear that the County Council If it is to maintain/improve its current services cannot ‘carry on’ financially unviable in its present form and needs reorganisation

    As Ian suggests he is open to alternatives to the County Councils Unitary Authority proposals.

    My suggestion with every best intention was for BBC to explore other such possibilities say with other District/Borough Councils. Thus fulfilling the Secretary of State for Housing and Local Governments desire for consensus between Authorities to any proposed changes

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    1. Should Broxtowe become a Unitary Authority it would be the fourth smallest by population – so not totally out of the question.

      Should the County become a Unitary Authority it would be by far the largest – and not one that sits well with many Notts residents.

      The economic and development, transport and business centre of gravity in the area is shifting to Toton – so perhaps a unitary authority merging Erewash and Broxtowe councils… Such a grouping would be slap bang in the middle of the list in terms of population – something around 25th out of some 56 Unitary authorities.

      Food for thought…

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