Martin Ford 27 August 2020

Three districts table Gloucestershire devolution proposals

Three of Gloucestershire’s district councils have proposed creating two unitary authorities in the county.

Cheltenham BC, Cotswold DC, and Stroud DC have begun working on the proposals that would see one council covering the east of the county, and another for the western half.

A paper is due to go before Cotswold’s cabinet on 7 September, with Stroud and Cheltenham councillors expected to consider a similar proposal soon after.

The leaders of the three council have said that reorganisation is necessary for Gloucestershire to ‘unlock significant future investment’ and their proposals would be ‘closer and more connected to the people they serve’.

However, they have yet to gain support from Forest of Dean DC, Gloucester City Council, and Tewkesbury BC, or Gloucestershire CC.

In a joint statement, the leaders of the three councils said: ‘While we are concerned that the timing of the White Paper isn’t helpful in the midst of a pandemic, we have an overriding commitment to explore what’s best for our residents and businesses.

‘While strong arguments may be put forward for having a large, single unitary council, we believe that an innovative and progressive two council devolution deal should be explored as well to get the best for Gloucestershire.

‘Our intention is to approach this debate with positivity, openness and we welcome partners, county, district, town and parish councils and our communities to join the conversation.’

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