Laura Sharman 21 March 2018

Two councils vote in favour of merger

Two Somerset councils have backed plans to dissolve both existing councils and create a single new one.

Taunton Deane Borough and West Somerset Councils have agreed to start the legal process of creating one new council in a bid to save £3.1m a year.

The two councils have already been partners since 2013 and share a single team of staff.

Cllr John Williams, leader of Taunton Deane Borough Council, said the partnership between the two councils has delivered yearly savings of £1.8m.

‘Looking ahead, we want to increase those savings by a further £3.1m a year through transforming the way we work and creating a new council and the savings made, ploughed back into maintaining and enhancing the much valued services we provide to our community,’ he said.

Leader of West Somerset Council, Anthony Trollope-Bellew, added: ‘West Somerset Council has struggled financially which has been known for some years. We are far stronger together to deliver the economies of scale for the new council so delivering a viable and sustainable new council into the future.’

The councils agreed the name of the new council should be Somerset West and Taunton, there should be 58 councillors, and a cabinet model should be adopted with up to 10 members.

Local government minister, Sajid Javid, will make the final decision on the proposal.

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