THERE’S no going back over a decision to split the county in two by setting up two councils governing East and West Cheshire.
The House of Lords has now backed the Commons’ decision to support the change in spite of a vociferous campaign by opponents.
The move will mean the abolition of not only Cheshire County Council but also the six district councils including Chester City, Ellesmere Port & Neston and Vale Royal.
Instead Cheshire will be governed by just two one-stop councils which do everything from highways and education to planning and environmental health.
The two councils solution was an option put forward by the joint Lib Dem and Labour administration which ran Chester City Council until last May.
The incoming Conservative administration has been opposed to the shake-up, but has vowed to work with all concerned to ensure the transition is as smooth and effective as possible.
Council leader Cllr Margaret Parker, said: “Although this is not what we consider the right direction for local government in our area, now that the final decision has been made we will engage fully in the process to ensure the best possible outcome for the people of Cheshire West and Chester.”
Labour group leader Cllr John Price, a long time champion of unitary government, said: “At last the people here will have a system that is easy to understand, more efficient and ultimately less costly.”
Welcoming the Lords’ decision Lib Dem group leader Cllr Paul Roberts said: “Services will be more efficient, because the current confusion between city and county council responsibilities will be eliminated.”
Vale Royal Cllr Les Ford, chair of the Cheshire West and Chester Joint Committee, which is beginning the process of transition in this area, said: “This final decision means that we can now get on with the job of creating a new council that will enable public services to be shaped around the residents and communities that will use them.”
In a statement, Cheshire County Council – in favour of having just one council running all services in Cheshire – admitted the battle was over.