Local Government Minister John Healey announced further progress on re-structuring local government in Cheshire yesterday. A press statement released by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), which can be seen under "News" at the DCLG's website www.communities.gov.uk (The website link that was here no longer works) , states:
"The number of councils in Cheshire will be reduced from seven to just two, under the successful proposal put forward by Chester City Council, Vale Royal District Council, Macclesfield Borough Council and Ellesmere Port and Neston Borough Council. It has been estimated that the changes will save over £16m per year, which can be used to directly improve front line services or reduce council tax bills. The new structures will also improve services, and strengthen both leadership and the involvement of local people in how services are run.
"Detailed consideration has been given to both the single unitary and two-unitary proposals for Cheshire, which both met the Government's strict criteria. The two-unitary proposal has been judged as most likely to improve leadership, services and the involvement of communities. This decision confirms that the proposal for a single unitary Cheshire will not proceed"
The press release goes on to say that John Healey told parliament that "the two-unitary proposal submitted to us following invitation has demonstrated through rigorous assessment that it can create flagship new councils improving services and opportunities for local people, and bringing potential savings for council tax payers. These two new authorities must now be allowed to make that those benefits reality and establish their own democratic legitimacy. Central Government's job is to let them get on and deliver, whilst ensuring important protections for staff."
An implementation order will be presented to both houses of parliament for debate in the New Year. It is the government's intention that the two new councils will be established in 1st April 2009. At that point Crewe and Nantwich, Congleton and Macclesfield Councils will form East Cheshire whilst Ellesmere Port and Neston, Chester and Vale Royal Councils will form West Cheshire.
Audlem Online will publish further information soon on the make-up of the new East Cheshire authority and its effect on Audlem.
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