Nottinghamshire CC has voted to create a business case for a county unitary, a move that Nottingham City Council has warned will see it press to extend its boundary.
A motion from county leader Kay Cutts (Con) passed at today’s meeting, said that forming a unitary from Nottinghamshire and its seven districts would save £20-30m “currently tied up in bureaucracy”.
Cllr Cutts motion said: “A unitary authority would achieve economies of scale and deliver a more responsive service to residents.”
A late amendment made by her committed the county to prepare a unitary business case and apply to the government for reorganisation only once that was approved, rather than to apply immediately as the original motion said.
But the city council – which would be surrounded by a unitary Nottinghamshire under this plan – has said it should extend its boundary if reorganisation takes place to include the wider urban area.
City leader Jon Collins (Lab) said: “We will continue to work with the existing pattern of local government but if the county council lobbies to become a single tier authority on the current boundaries, we will be forced to present alternative proposals.
“It obviously makes sense for the city council to deliver services across the whole conurbation and not just inner city Nottingham and as a result we would seek to expand our boundary to cover the whole urban area.”
This would involve the city taking over Beeston, Stapleford and Toton from Broxtowe DC, Arnold, Carlton and Gedling from Gedling BC, Hucknall from Ashfield DC and West Bridgford from Rushcliffe BC.
Cllr Collins said Nottingham was “seriously under-bounded with a population” with only 329,000 of the conurbation’s 600,000 population within its boundary.
He added: “Our first step would be to work with our neighbouring district councils to see whether, in the face of the decision by the county council, they would be happier co-operating with us on an alternative proposal.”
Bassetlaw DC leader Simon Greaves (Lab) told LGC: “I think reorganisation is an almighty distraction and the way the county council is doing this is the opposite to the collaboration the government has said it expects to see in any reorganisation proposal.
“Nottinghamshire has not been interested in any joint working on this. I’m sure if it went ahead the city would put its own proposals and would have a powerful case.”
Newark & Sherwood DC