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Two Western Leaders Meet

15 June 2021 : Council news

A week on from victory in the local poll, the Leaders of Somerset West and Taunton Council and Sedgemoor District Council met to discuss next steps in the establishment of a new Western Somerset unitary council.

Stronger Somerset, the plan for two councils, Western Somerset and Eastern Somerset, to replace Somerset’s existing five county and district councils, was the overwhelming choice of local residents in the poll, winning 65% of the vote.

While the Council Leaders now await the decision of the Local Government Secretary, Robert Jenrick, they know they must begin making arrangements to ensure a smooth transition.

This will involve closer working together as two district councils and joint working with the county council.

“We are working to have the new councils up and running in April 2023,” said Cllr Duncan McGinty, Leader of Sedgemoor District Council. “While that might seem a long way off, there is an awful lot of work to do before then and we have to get cracking.”

“We will need an agreed implementation plan in just a few months’ time, so there is no time to waste,” said Cllr Federica Smith-Roberts, Leader of Somerset West and Taunton Council. “We invite our colleagues from the county council to now join us in this important work.”

The decision of the Local Government Secretary on the future of local government in Somerset is due before the summer Parliamentary recess on 22 July. It is expected that the Stronger Somerset proposal will be the future if he listens to the people’s verdict.