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Last Updated: Sunday, 27 May 2007, 15:30 GMT 16:30 UK
Residents to vote on unitary plan
Residents in Cumbria are being offered the chance to vote on proposals to create a county-wide unitary authority.

Eden District Council has sent ballot forms to its 42,000 registered voters, asking if they support the plans.

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

A spokesman for Eden Council said the views of local people should be taken into account as there had been "a lack of meaningful consultation".

This independent poll is a valuable opportunity for Eden residents to have their say
Councillor Colin Nineham, joint leader of Eden Council

Chief executives of the county's five other district councils addressed the Department of Communities and Local Government on 22 May to try to raise support for their alternative to a unitary council.

Eden Council has not joined their campaign, and is instead carrying out "a range of measures" including a public consultation poll.

Joint council leader, Councillor Colin Nineham said: "Before members determine their response to the unitary proposals, we thought it was important to take into account the views of local residents, especially when there has been no other meaningful consultation at any other level."

'Consider response'

He added: "This independent poll is a valuable opportunity for Eden residents to have their say on the level of local government services they want.

"Local people need to look beyond the gloss and think would they get better services from the district council delivered locally or from a unitary authority."

The independent poll is being conducted by the Electoral Reform Services on behalf of the district council.

Completed ballot papers should be returned by 11 June 2007, and the council will consider its response to the government that week.

A final decision on whether the county council's unitary bid has been successful will be made in July.

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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