The decision, due to be announced next week, will provide a further test of John Gummer's determination to impose unitary councils on shire England. Any final recommendations would have to be sent back to the commission to reconsider in the light of new government guidance, which favours unitary councils, issued in September.
Gloucestershire CC Chief Executive Michael Honey said it was very likely it would recommend two tiers in Gloucestershire. 'There aren't any sensible options for merging authorities in Gloucestershire that raise anything but a laugh'.
Stroud DC Chief Executive Richard Ollin said two tiers would be 'generally acceptable' to the council but expressed disappointment that Gloucestershire councils could not agree on unitary structures.
These proposals from the commission would confirm its initial plan for Avon but reverse one for a unitary Somerset, excluding part of Mendip.