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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 May 2007, 09:52 GMT 10:52 UK
Councils create anti-unitary plan
District council bosses from across Cumbria are visiting London to raise support for an alternative to a proposed county-wide unitary authority.

Chief executives of Allerdale, Barrow, Carlisle, Copeland and South Lakeland councils will address the Department of Communities and Local Government.

They say a unitary council would reduce the quality of local services.

In March, the government shortlisted Cumbria County Council's bid to replace the districts with a single authority.

A spokesman for the council said its proposal was amongst the three highest-rated out of 16 bids submitted across England.

The government will make a final decision in July following consultation.

On Tuesday, the district chief executives are meeting Paul Rowsell, Deputy Director for Local Democracy at the Department of Communities and Local Government.

They will present their Government for Cumbria plan, which they say will be more beneficial to the county's residents.

'Local democracy'

Gillian Bishop, chief executive of Allerdale Borough Council, said: "We are creating every opportunity to raise the profile with key government officials and this meeting is very welcome.

"If the county council's bid is successful, we believe this will lead to a significant reduction in the quality and number of services delivered to local residents. We are vigorously opposing the bid.

"Our alternative model retains strong local democratic links and would deliver improvements on service delivery, strategic leadership, neighbourhood engagement and many other challenges."

A spokesman for Cumbria's sixth district council, Eden, said the authority is not supporting either the unitary bid or the Government for Cumbria plan.

Instead the council will carry out "a range of measures" including a public consultation poll.

Council submits unitary proposal
24 Jan 07 |  Cumbria
Council votes for unitary switch
18 Jan 07 |  Cumbria
Council considers unitary switch
10 Nov 06 |  Cumbria

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