Page last updated at 10:14 GMT, Wednesday, 15 July 2009 11:14 UK

Council change proposals delayed

Exeter had applied for a unitary authority

Final recommendations for changes to council areas and powers in Devon have been delayed again.

The Boundary Committee has been considering several proposals including whether Exeter and part of east Devon should become a unitary council.

But legal challenges to similar issues by a group of councils in Suffolk means the decision has been held up.

A recommendation will be made to the secretary of state once the legal wrangling is over.

The Boundary Committee had published draft proposals for unitary changes in Suffolk in March and was due to give its final advice on Wednesday.

However, the plans are undergoing a judicial review after a High Court ruling earlier this month.

The committee said the review affected the Devon recommendations it had also been preparing.

It said: "Similar issues are at stake and it would not be appropriate to give advice until judicial reviews are completed."

In response to the decision, Devon County Council, leader John Hart said the delay meant the "whole process has now descended into chaos".

He said: "This is a distraction that Devon simply does not want or need.

"It's time for the Secretary of State to finally put his ideas for major change in the county into the recycling bin and let us all get on with the job of pulling together, to do our best for local people during the challenging times ahead."

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