'Super district' could be formed by merging Stratford and Warwick district councils - The Leamington Observer

'Super district' could be formed by merging Stratford and Warwick district councils

Leamington Editorial 2nd Feb, 2021   0

A ‘SUPER district’ could be formed by merging Stratford and Warwick district councils.

The two councils are planning to create South Warwickshire Council by 2024.

The unitary authority would replace both councils and cover all activities they currently provide.

Stratford’s cabinet will approve or reject the proposal on Tuesday (February 9) while Warwick district’s executive will meet on Thursday (Feburary 11).

It follows an independent report which found a ‘strong strategic, economic, financial and operational case for merging’.

Warwick District Council leader Andrew Day said: “Out of crisis often comes opportunity. Our two councils have much in common and working together we’ve been able to respond positively to the pandemic. The local recovery plan will be strengthened if councillors decide to take this historic step, giving an opportunity to improve local government services across South Warwickshire, generating greater value for our residents and taxpayers.”

The proposal is also being backed by Stratford District Council leader Tony Jefferson.

He said: “The pandemic has had an enormous impact on our communities and the council. The report clearly identifies there are significant benefits from our two authorities continuing to integrate – without this there would be even more very challenging decisions required from both authorities.

“Without doubt, this is one of the most significant issues in the history of the district council.”

If both authorities approve the plans to move towards merging they will each also agree to fund £100,000 annually until 2024 to transition to South Warwickshire Council.

Leaders say the proposal is needed now to maintain the sense of place between the authorities, give a louder voice sub-regionally for residents and businesses, ease financial pressures due to the pandemic and to help retain valuable services.

The report found a super district could save nearly £5million after its fifth year which, it says, could improve services for local communities.

It also says a unitary authority would be better placed to deal with issues including the economy, housing and climate change.

The councils have already voted to share a waste disposal and recycling contract, and share two management roles, with more expected this year.

Work is also underway on a joint local plan.

If the proposals are approved South Warwickshire would not be the first super district, with Somerset West and Taunton, East Suffolk and West Suffolk becoming unitary authorities in April 2019.


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