The Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (something Taunton Deane apparently didn’t realise), today told Taunton Deane Borough and West Somerset Councils of his decision (which will be subject to Parliamentary approval) on the merger of the two councils.
The Secretary of State announced “Having carefully considered all the representations I have received and all the relevant information available to me, I am today announcing that I have decided to implement, subject to Parliamentary approval, the proposal to merge West Somerset District Council and Taunton Deane Borough Council to become a new single district council named Somerset West and Taunton District Council. I have reached my decision having regard to the criteria for district council mergers that I announced to the House on 7 November 2017. I am satisfied that these criteria are met and that the new district council is likely to improve local government and service delivery in the area, commands a good deal of local support, and that the new council area is a credible geography.”
The councils voted earlier this week to give their consent to the start of the legal process, while the respective Executive and Cabinet agreed the name of the new authority – Somerset West and Taunton, the number of councillors and to request a boundary review. So what happens next. That is back in the hands of the Secretary of State
“I now intend to prepare and lay before Parliament drafts of the necessary secondary legislation to give effect to my decision. My intention is that if Parliament approves this legislation the new council will be established on 1 April 2019 with the first election to the council held on 2 May 2019.”