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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 July 2007, 17:28 GMT 18:28 UK
Unitary authority for Shropshire
A binman emptying rubbish into a dustcart
The new council will be responsible for environmental services
The government has decided there will be a new unitary local council for part of Shropshire.

Under the new regime the county will be divided into two authorities, an existing one for Telford and a new one for the rest of the county.

Five district or borough councils and the county council will disappear.

Shrewsbury and Atcham Council, which opposed the move, has lodged a judicial review appeal at the High Court to be heard in September.

In previous local consultations, Shropshire County Council, Oswestry Borough Council and South Shropshire District Council supported the move to have one council.

Shrewsbury and Atcham Borough Council, North Shropshire District Council and Bridgnorth District Council had opposed the move.

'Better value'

Shropshire is one of nine new areas which are to be governed by a single unitary authority.

The leaders of Shropshire County Council and Oswestry Borough Council welcomed the news.

"We have shown in our proposal that by merging Shropshire's six main councils into one we can deliver even better value for money, at the same time as fairer and more joined-up services," they said in a joint statement.

David Lloyd, Oswestry Borough Council leader, said the announcement finally clears the uncertainty surrounding the issue.

'Serious matter'

Meanwhile, Shrewsbury and Atcham Borough Council issued a statement expressing disappointment at the news. It also stated it will still be going ahead with the judicial review.

"Shrewsbury and Atcham Borough Council is disappointed the government has not listened to the public of the borough and their serious concerns over the dilution of the democratic process," it said.

Ludlow's Conservative MP Philip Dunne said he was "bitterly disappointed" by the announcement.

"In Shropshire a strong case was made for existing councils working closer together.

"The Government has instead jumped the gun of its own legislation to force unitary status on rural shire counties

'Empowering citizens'

"The courts may rule this out of order when the judicial review case is heard in September.

"In the meantime I feel sorry for the continuing uncertainty for those staff of the district councils who may now be working out their jobs."

Local Government Minister John Healey said the new councils would "lead the way on meeting today's challenges of promoting prosperity, empowering citizens and communities and modernising local service delivery".

The new council is expected to be up and running by 2009.

The debate over the subject led to a communications officer leaving his job.

Paul Masterman e-mailed colleagues at Shropshire County Council advising them on how they could vote more than once in a BBC on-line poll.




SEE ALSO
Nine new councils to be created
25 Jul 07 |  UK Politics
MP opposes one-council proposal
07 Jun 07 |  Shropshire
One council plan opposed in court
22 Apr 07 |  Shropshire
Challenge over one council plan
12 Apr 07 |  Shropshire
Council chief quits after e-mail
04 Apr 07 |  Shropshire

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