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Wednesday, December 8, 2021

People in Gedling borough ‘against super council plan’

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People in Gedling are overwhelmingly in favour of keeping district and borough councils, according to the leader of the council.

Gedling Borough Council boss Cllr John Clarke said non-essential services such as leisure centres and markets would be axed if the new ‘super council’ went ahead.

Nottinghamshire County Council is looking into a plan to scrap district and borough councils, and create a brand new authority which would cover all of Nottinghamshire.

Supporters say the scheme could save as much as £20 million a year, which would help protect services.

However the project has faced criticism from district and borough councils, who say it would erode local decision making, and would end up costing more due to the complexity.

Now, Cllr Clarke has said other authorities which cover large areas, such as Northamptonshire and Birmingham, were having to scrap everything apart from essential services, and that this could happen in Nottinghamshire under a super council.

PICTURED: Cllr John Clarke



He said: “We do one hell of a lot of stuff that we needn’t do, but we do it because we care for the people we represent.

“It really is worrying, and my fear is that if other councils come in and try to take us over, we would lose all that.

“People on the streets of Gedling feel very strongly. They’re very passionate. People from all political persuasions. They like things local, they have had enough of ringing Bombay to get their phone fixed or whatever else.”

Councillor Michael Payne is the deputy leader of the council, and represents the Redhill ward for Labour.

He said: “There is a trend. If you look at Birmingham, it’s the second-biggest authority in Europe. If you look at Northamptonshire, it’s one of the biggest counties.

“It’s always counties that have got huge economic scale where they’re not close enough to people’s lives so decisions are made without any democratic accountability or scrutiny and then they collapse under the pressure, and that’s exactly what we’ve seen in Northamptonshire.

“Yet we’ve got the bonkers idea where the county council is calling for the replication of an authority larger than Northamptonshire where it’s all under one control.

“That level of scale leads to only one thing which is financial instability and a lack of democracy at a local level.”

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