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Lack of agreement on a pattern of unitary authorities was a major factor in the Local government Commission's decis...
Lack of agreement on a pattern of unitary authorities was a major factor in the Local government Commission's decision to recommend no change in Hertfordshire's structure, commissioner David Scruton told BBC Three Counties.

Only one of the county's 10 district councils, North Hertfordshire, favoured the status quo rather than a unitary system. But when the commission proposed four unitaries only Three Rivers DC supported the idea.

Mr Scruton said the commission had heard from 60,000 members of the public in Hertfordshire and the broad indication from them was that there should be no change. He said he was heartened by the quality of debate in the county and the commission saw more representatives of outside bodies than in many parts of the country.

John Sarton, of East Hertfordshire DC, spokesman for the nine councils' pro-unitaries group, said Bedfordshire looked likely to have unitaries while on the other county border Essex was to have a mixture of county and unitaries.

'It does make me, and I'm sure many other people involved in local government, query how the commission decided on its solutions. It really is a real hotch-potch', he commented.

The commission has said it wants to see closer co-operation between county and districts, and better management of services.

Hertfordshire chief executive Brian Briscoe commented: 'There are clearly other issues - changes in the way in which we meet need in social services, education, transportation and so on - which imply change is endemic in local government. We are the sector which in the last 10 years has had more change than any other'.

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