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Districts set to merge planners

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Cherwell DC and South Northamptonshire Council are set to save £150,000 by merging their planning departments.

Savings identified in a business case would come from changes to management structure, efficiencies, income generation and IT harmonisation.

The two councils already collaborate on services, and most of their staff teams have been merged.

In a report approved by Cherwell’s executive on Tuesday, it said there was one potential redundancy resulting from the merger while “a small number of employees requested to be considered for voluntary redundancy”.

Colin Clarke (Con), Cherwell’s lead member for planning, said: “The goal of this business plan is for the development management teams to work as a single shared service, as other council teams have done. This will help the councils to protect services well into the future by proactively planning to cope with reductions in government funding.”

Cherwell has agreed the business case involved and South Northamptonshire is due to vote on it later this month.

The two local authorities appointed a joint chief executive in March. 

Cherwell and South Northamptonshire have a longstanding shared staff and services deal and in 2016 the two proposed they should become a unitary. This though was soon abandoned as the cross-county boundary work involved was eventually judged too complicated.

Cherwell is now among councils opposed to an Oxfordshire county unitary, as promoted by the county council and South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse DCs.

Northamptonshire has floated the idea of a county unitary, but deferred any activity until after May’s elections.


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