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Districts to meet Javid over two unitaries plan

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The leaders of four district councils in Buckinghamshire are to meet communities secretary Sajid Javid next week to discuss their proposals for the formation of two unitary councils in the county.

Under the proposals, the existing county council and its four district councils – Aylesbury Vale, Chiltern, South Bucks, and Wycombe DCs – would be replaced by two unitary councils: one representing Aylesbury Vale, the other encompassing the remaining three.

The proposals, due to be voted on by the four districts on Monday, have been vehemently contested by Buckinghamshire CC, which favours the creation of a single, county-wide unitary. The district leaders are due to meet Mr Javid next Thursday. 

Writing for LGC, Buckinghamshire’s leader Martin Tett (Con) argued that a single unitary council would “give Buckinghamshire a single, strategic voice, making it a powerful advocate for ensuring our opportunities and needs shape the emerging sub-national agenda” as well as addressing ”barriers to growth”.

Conversely, Alsylesbury Vale DC’s leader Neil Blake (Con) said: “The north and south of Bucks are very different economic areas. Two new unitaries would allow each council to pursue its own economic goals.”

While Mr Javid is due to make a decision on both sets of proposals early this year, any reorganisation is unlikely to be implemented until spring 2019, the districts said in a statement.

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