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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 March 2007, 11:00 GMT 12:00 UK
County's unitary bid goes forward
Plans to replace Cornwall's county and district councils with one single unitary authority have succeeded in getting on to a government shortlist.

Backers say it will mean just one council running everything: from social services to planning, rubbish collections to leisure facilities.

Some district councils believe the bid for the new authority is flawed.

The bid is now to undergo government consultation. A final decision is expected in July.

It is fraught with risk
North Cornwall District Council

Cornwall County Council said the announcement by Local Government Minister Phil Woolas on Tuesday was what the county had been waiting for.

It said it meant it could now concentrate on pushing through radical reform on the way the county was run.

The county council claims it will give Cornwall a coherent voice, and save money by reducing bureaucracy and duplication of services.

But some district councils - including North Cornwall District Council and Restormel Borough Council - are concerned about the unitary bid.

They say an enhanced three-tier system would be more beneficial, and wish to create better links and joint working between the parish, district and county levels.

North Cornwall Council said it had consistently argued that a unitary authority "could be disastrous".

'Coherent voice'

It said it was "fraught with risk" and could mean a massive upheaval to local services.

Cornwall is one of 16 local authorities bidding for unitary status which have been short listed to go forward for consultation.

The government said criteria required that proposals were affordable and would provide stronger leadership, improve public services, empower local communities and have a broad cross section of support.

The government said that, if successful and subject to the Parliamentary process, those who succeed in getting the unitary status are expected to be operational by April 2009.

Elsewhere in the South West, Exeter City Council and Somerset County Council have also had their unitary bids shortlisted.

Unitary status plan for councils
27 Mar 07 |  Somerset
Unitary council hopefuls unveiled
27 Mar 07 |  UK Politics

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