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MORI FINDING INTO CLEVELAND, DERBYSHIRE AND DURHAM RESTRUCTURING

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The Local Government Commission today published the research results of MORI surveys of residents' opinions in Durh...
The Local Government Commission today published the research results of MORI surveys of residents' opinions in Durham, Cleveland and Derbyshire into proposals to restructure local government in the three counties. Among the findings are that 75% of people in Cleveland support a move to unitary authorities.

CLEVELAND

Findings included that 77% of residents could correctly name the district council with awareness in Hartlepool and Stockton on Tees higher than in Middlesbrough and Langbaurgh on Tees. Most people had found out about the review from local newspapers.

On options for change the status quo is preferred by one in five while the two four authority options are preferred by 31%. Residents support the principle of unitary authorities by five to one. 75% support a move to unitary authorities. There is a similar picture in all districts although Langbaurgh residents are a little more ambivalent.

DERBYSHIRE

The status quo option is clearly the most preferred, MORI found. This was with the exception of Derby city where the two council option is the most preferred (21%), an option which involves two single authorities responsible services currently by the districts and counties.

People opting for the status quo said they could see no reason for change. Just over half, (54%) said they support the principle of unitary authorities while three in 10 (30%) are opposed. Town and parish councils won strong support although not so much in Derby city.

Asked whether the numbers of councillors should be reduced in Derbyshire from 477 to 172, of the respondents 46% were in favour with 34% against.

DURHAM

The status quo is clearly the most preferred option in all districts except Darlington where most residents (65%) would prefer an option which entails a unitary Darlington, MORI found.

On balance Durham residents are opposed to the principle of unitary authorities replacing the present two tier structure. Two in five (39%) back the plan with 47% against. More people are in favour of unitary authorities in Darlington and Easington than against.

Reducing the number of councillors won 42% of support with 30% against. A higher number in Darlington wanted fewer councillors.

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