“BAFFLING, much to be regretted ….a poor day for Cheshire and its Council Tax-payers” - Cheshire County Council leader Paul Findlow has strongly criticised Whitehall’s decision to split governance of the county into East and West Cheshire halves.
The decision means Crewe and Nantwich Borough Council, Congleton Borough Council and Macclesfield Borough Council will be amalgamated into a single-tier East Cheshire council whilst Cheshire County Council will be abolished.
Cllr Findlow has consistently supported a robustly improved two tier system with the existing district and county councils working together more effectively.
“The Government has ignored its own criteria, and compelling financial evidence,”Šhe said.
“Even so, assuming the Government’s proposal survives any remaining hurdles, we must then ensure a proper and efficient handover to the new Cheshire authorities.
“In the meantime, we are committed to continue to provide excellent service delivery both up to and beyond transfer day scheduled for April 1, 2009.”
Cheshire County Council will now be reviewing all options available, including legal action.ŠExecutive members will discuss the position shortly.
“We remain convinced thatŠCheshire County Council’s submission for a single authority is the best option in the interests of all the people of Cheshire by some distance,” said chief executive Jeremy Taylor.
“It saves moneyŠ - around £21m a year - cuts bureaucracy and prevents the totally unnecessary disruption ofŠ excellent services.
“And you can add to that the revitalisation of local government andŠdevolution of decision-makingŠand budgets to local communities in a way never before contemplated.
“All in all quite easy to understand why Government originally determined that the County Council’s bidŠhad met all its criteria.
“Yet despite huge risks involved with the split county financial case - the cost of establishing two unitaries is £103m in five years -Š and overwhelming stakeholder support for a single unitary, the Government has chosen the ‘worst case scenario.
“It’s illogical, absurd and a very black day for the county of Cheshire.”