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Leaders of district councils welcome Somerset County Council’s offer to rejoin discussions about creating a stronger future

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17.08.20 JOINT STATEMENT FROM THE LEADERS OF MENDIP DISTRICT COUNCIL, SEDGEMOOR DISTRICT COUNCIL, SOMERSET WEST & TAUNTON COUNCIL AND SOUTH SOMERSET DISTRICT COUNCIL

“Somerset’s four district councils are committed to creating the best possible future for the county, its people and its communities.

"We all agree change is needed and we have welcomed the Leader of Somerset County Council’s offer to rejoin discussions about creating a stronger future for the county together.

"After extensive research, the districts’ Leaders have agreed this change will most effectively be delivered through the creation of two new councils, replacing the five existing authorities, helping to maintain crucial links with our people, communities and businesses.

"We are committed to putting together a detailed case for reform that delivers better outcomes. This will be available soon and we will be happy to discuss these exciting plans with Somerset County Council’s Leader."

Please see the letter sent from all Somerset’s district council Leaders in response to Cllr David Fothergill of Somerset County Council below

Dear David,

Many thanks for your letter of last week.

We would welcome the opportunity to meet, now that we have begun to develop our business case following a period of detailed work and research. We have also built our case in response to the coronavirus pandemic - which has presented a new set of economic and social challenges.

As you know, we never formally rejected the idea of a Unitary authority – it was one of many options presented to us before you unilaterally left the joint discussions. The report that was commissioned by all of us did not propose a single Unitary as the best option for Somerset.

However, the government has made it clear that they are seeking Unitary options across the country so we have been working together to present a solution that best delivers for Somerset. Our approach has always been to put the people, communities and businesses of Somerset first, not the reform of our own organisations in isolation from the needs of our county.

Yours sincerely,

Councillor Ros Wyke (Mendip District Council), Councillor Duncan McGinty (Sedgemoor District Council), Councillor Federica Smith-Roberts (Somerset West and Taunton Council),  Councillor Val Keitch (South Somerset District Council).

This statement has been released by South Somerset District Council on behalf of Mendip District Council, Sedgemoor District Council and Somerset West & Taunton Council.

Thank you. You response is appreciated.

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