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TEXT OF CLEVELAND LETTER FROM JOHN GUMMER TO SIR JOHN BANHAM

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The following is the full text of the letter to Local Government Commission Chairman Sir John Banham from Environme...
The following is the full text of the letter to Local Government Commission Chairman Sir John Banham from Environment Secretary John Gummer, outlining his endorsement of the commission's proposals to abolish Cleveland CC.

'On 8 November 1993 you sent me the Local Government Commission's report, `Final recommendations on the future local government of Cleveland and Durham`.

'On 29 November I directed the commission to undertake a further review of County Durham, and my decisions on County Durham will of course need to take account of that further review. I am, however, now able to let you know my decisions on the Commission's proposals for Cleveland.

'I am empowered by Section 17 of the Local Government Act 1992 to give effect by order to all or any of the commission's recommendations for an area, with or without modifications.

'After considering the commission's recommendations for Cleveland, and the representations made to me, I have decided to give effect to those recommendations with certain modifications, as described below.

'I agree that effective and convenient local government in Cleveland, reflecting the identities and interests of local people, would be best achieved by abolishing Cleveland County Council and establishing four unitary authorities for the area on existing borough council boundaries (recommendation 1).

'I expect the authorities to work together in planning for those functions which are currently carried out at county level, and to make any necessary joint arrangements. Under Section 21 of the Local Government Act 1992 I have powers to require statutory joint arrangements for any function if voluntary arrangements fail.

'I am confident, however, that the authorities will be able to establish satisfactory arrangements without the need for such intervention. I have noted, for example, the proposals launched by the existing borough councils for a Tees Valley Development Company to promote economic regeneration, in conjunction with a Tees Valley Joint Committee for strategic economic development, structure and transportation planning and waste disposal.

'My officials, and those of other interested departments, will be working positively with the authorities to encourage collaboration during their period of shadow running.

Your original recommendations for County Durham envisaged links - for example in relation to strategic planning - between the Cleveland districts and a unitary Darlington district. I cannot of course predict the outcome of your further review of Durham, but I do not regard the implementation of structural change in Cleveland now as any barrier to future arrangements of that sort.

'The commission also recommends that the county of Cleveland be abolished and the area divided, for ceremonial and related purposes, between County Durham and Yorkshire (recommendations 1 and 4). I accept this proposal in principle, subject to decisions on the areas of Durham and North Yorkshire. Because of this interrelationship, however, I have decided to defer a final decision until I have received, and taken decisions on, the Commission's final recommendations for Durham and North Yorkshire.

'I accept the Commission's recommendation that a Langbaurgh-on- Tees unitary authority should be named `Redcar and Cleveland Council` (recommendation 3). This is primarily a matter for the authority itself.

'I support the Commission's recommendation for police and fire services in Cleveland (recommendation 5).

'I endorse the general thrust of the Commission's recommendation on planning for Cleveland (recommendation 6), under which the four unitary authorities would maintain separate local plans and a joint structure plan.

'To safeguard strategic planning for the area, I would expect the authorities to build on the existing borough councils' proposals for a Tees Valley Joint Committee.

'I accept the commission's recommendation that, for the unitary authorities, the present borough electoral and warding arrangements should continue (recommendation 7).

'We shall be consulting the county council and the borough councils on the appropriate transitional arrangements.

'I accept the commission's recommendation that a new parish area should be created for Thornaby (recommendation 8). I am considering the proposal that I should direct the commission to undertake a further parish review and will write to you separately on that.

'I am happy to take this opportunity of expressing my support for the holding of elections to parish and town councils at the same time as those to principal authorities, where possible.

'I have already made clear in policy guidance to the commission my belief that there should be effective consultation between principal authorities and town and parish councils.

'I would also encourage all authorities to consider the role of existing parish councils and the effective part they might play, on a voluntary basis, in the provision of local services as agents of principal authorities'.

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