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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 March 2008, 12:29 GMT
Bid to halt council change fails
Cheshire road sign
Cheshire will be looked after by two councils from April 2009
A last-ditch bid to delay the axing of Cheshire County Council has failed in the House of Lords.

A government order to create two all-purpose unitary authorities for the east and west of the county was passed by 83 votes to 72 - a majority of 11

It followed two hours of debate during which peers criticised MPs for failing to take into account the lack of support within the county.

The new councils will be elected in May before taking responsibility in 2009.

The Cheshire Structural Changes Order was approved by MPs in a Commons vote last week.

But it faced criticism in the upper chamber from Peers who claimed there was no support for the changes by the people who live in Cheshire.

It is a long-term, historic county, to which those in it have a great deal of loyalty
Lord Wade of Chorlton

Labour Peer Baroness Andrews, who led the debate, said the government was aware that the change - like other reorganisations - might prove unpopular.

But she said that advisors concluded that the changes could deliver ongoing savings of about 16m a year.

"It has been a difficult decision, but nevertheless it is a decision which we believe provides the right governance for the people of Cheshire moving forward," she said.

Opposition to the bill was led by Lord Wade of Chorlton, whose amendment was an attempt to stall the changes pending a full consultation with Cheshire residents.

County axe

He said: "An organisation to which all the people in Cheshire look as their central body [Cheshire County Council] will be destroyed and split into two.

"It is a long-term, historic county, to which those in it have a great deal of loyalty."

Under the changes, the axe will fall on the top tier county council, the existing city authority and the five borough councils.

Chester, Vale Royal and Ellesmere Port and Neston councils will disappear and be replaced by City of Chester and Cheshire West.

Congleton, Macclesfield, and Crewe and Nantwich councils will be merged into East Cheshire Council.

VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Cheshire residents giving their views on the split



SEE ALSO
MPs back Cheshire council split
27 Feb 08 |  Staffordshire
Commons approves unitary status
20 Feb 08 |  Shropshire
Labour MP's fury at Blears' plans
18 Dec 07 |  UK Politics
Councils to challenge Kelly plans
19 Jun 07 |  UK Politics
County split into two authorities
25 Jul 07 |  Staffordshire
Councils to get fresh law powers
26 Oct 06 |  UK Politics

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