Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Congleton to appeal against unitary judgment

  • Comment
Congleton BC is to appeal after a judge on Wednesday threw out an attempt to take communities and local government secretary Hazel Blears to judicial review over the unitary reorganisation.

Mr Justice Underhill ruled against that the claim by Congleton and Shrewsbury & Atcham BCs - both of which face abolition - that Ms Blears had acted unlawfully by starting the unitary process before the Local Government & Public Involvement in Health Bill becomes law.

The councils also argued that she had ignored the government’s criteria that unitary proposals should have public support.

But he allowed them to take the matter to the Court of Appeal, saying: “I am not so confident that I am right that I could conscientiously say there was no reasonable prospect of success on appeal.”

'Judge is wrong'

Congleton leader Roland Domleo (Con) said: “We believe that the judge is wrong to have dismissed the fact that [Ms Blears] has made these decisions despite strong evidence showing that the proposals have not met her own criteria, in particular, concerning public support.

“There is no evidence to suggest that the public want a costly, disruptive and unnecessary restructure of their public services”.

Other councils may back appeal

Other councils that have threatened judicial reviews are considering their position, and may back Congleton rather than pursue their own cases.

Bedfordshire and Wiltshire CCs and Durham City Council said they were considering the judgment’s implications.

But Shropshire CC leader Malcolm Pate (Con) said the judgment “entirely vindicates the way in which we carefully followed the process set out by the government”.

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.