The Government has passed the final piece of legislation required for the formation of a new unitary authority in Buckinghamshire.
The legislation, known as the Buckinghamshire Structural Changes Order, sets out the details of the new council, which will be known as Buckinghamshire Council.
The new authority, which will begin work from April 2020, will have 147 elected members and elections to the new council will take place in May 2020.
It will replace the current five councils – Aylesbury Vale District Council, Buckinghamshire County Council, Chiltern District Council, South Bucks District Council and Wycombe District Council – which will cease to exist on 31 March 2020.
Three of these authorities – South Bucks, Chiltern and Wycombe – attempted to stop the plans going ahead due to concerns over a lack of public consent.
A temporary 236 seat shadow authority will be formed, with all current county and district councillors having a seat. Leadership will be provided by a 17 seat shadow executive of county and district members.
An implementation team, led by the county council chief executive and with a district chief executive as deputy, will be established to manage the smooth transfer of services and staff to the new council.
‘There’s no doubt that this is the biggest change in the county’s local government history, and our goal now is to use this once in a lifetime opportunity to bring the best of the current five councils together to create an even better new council for the people of Buckinghamshire,’ said a joint statement from the five Buckinghamshire councils.
‘We’re committed to working together to deliver a brand new council that will be simpler, focused on improving and supporting our communities and champion issues close to the heart of our people.’
The council leaders added that one authority would reduce duplication and running costs and therefore save money that can be invested in frontline services.
They also said the new authority would give them a ‘stronger voice’ to speak on behalf of the county at the national level.