Gedling Borough Council has approved plans to hold a local consultation giving people and businesses in the area the chance to decide whether they want to see their local authority scrapped in favour of a new county-wide council.
Following today’s decision (8), surveys will be sent to every home and business in the borough.
It will carry just one question – “Do you want Gedling Borough Council to be abolished and replaced with a larger council that is responsible for your local services and makes decisions for the whole county area?”
However a Conservative Gedling councillor has said the statements published around the question are designed to influence the result.
It is in response to the Conservative-led Nottinghamshire County Council’s plan to scrap all district and borough councils and create one or two new councils to cover the whole county, apart from the city.
The first, informal stage of the county’s consultation has recently finished, and the leader of the county council today thanked the almost 3,000 people who responded.
The county’s consultation looked at the options for change, but Gedling Borough Council felt it didn’t give people the chance to say they wanted the status quo to remain.
The Labour leaders of Gedling Borough Council are opposed to the ‘super council’ plan.
The Gedling consultation is expected to cost £20,000 and hard copies will be sent out to around 53,000 households and 5,000 business within the next few weeks.
The deputy leader of Gedling Borough Council, Councillor Michael Payne, said: “People in Gedling borough deserve to be asked a straightforward question which is ‘do they want to see their borough council scrapped.’
“That question wasn’t asked, disappointingly, by the county council in its first consultation.
“That question needs to be asked. My own residents in my ward gave up on the county’s informal consultation because there was no opportunity for them to say that they wanted to stay with the status quo.
“At the end of the day, our services are paid for by our residents and our businesses, and they deserve to have a straightforward say on this issue.”
However the leader of the Gedling Conservative group, Cllr Chris Barnfather, spoke against the consultation at a Cabinet meeting today.
Councillor Barnfather, who represents the Newstead Abbey ward and is also a county councillor, has previously spoken in favour of a unitary authority, if the business case shows that it would improve services for the community.
He said: “It’s always very easy to spend other people’s money, and £20,000 is a lot of money.
“You have created here an alarmist document that’s intended to deliver an answer you want to receive.”
The consultation will be sent out to households in the coming weeks, and will also be available to answer online from next week at www.gedling.gov.uk/yourviewsmatter