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Letter: Councillors Shocked by News of SCC Plan For Single Unitary Authority

Published on: 10 Jul, 2020
Updated on: 10 Jul, 2020

From Zoe Franklin

spokesperson for Guildford’s Liberal Democrats

In response to: Surrey County Council Faces Battle in Bid to Scrap Borough and District Councils

I am deeply concerned that Surrey County Council’s Conservative leadership intend to pursue a unitary authority to replace Surrey’s county and borough/district councils in advance of the government White Paper expected in the autumn.

The first Lib Dem county councillors knew of this was late Monday afternoon, and Guildford Borough Council leader Caroline Reeves had no prior notice either.

That such a significant proposed change to the way Surrey is governed and how voters’ voices are represented and considered should be announced without consultation with county or borough councillors or leaders and colleagues is unacceptable.

What about the views and needs of local people?

Local government has the most direct impact on people’s daily lives, dealing with education, social care, refuse, housing and so much more. That councils are connected to local people through the councillors who serve on them as community representatives is crucial.

If the idea of unitary authorities is to be explored for Surrey, then the needs of people and communities must come first in the decision-making.

And such decisions must be made in an open and transparent manner, with cross-party involvement.

In last year’s local elections, residents made clear they no longer supported the Conservative vision for our county.

Out of Surrey’s 11 borough/district councils only three are now controlled by the Conservatives. Massive majorities were slashed to nothing.

The Conservatives here are losing control and this is nothing more than a desperate effort to redraw boundaries to regain personal and party power.

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test 2 Responses to Letter: Councillors Shocked by News of SCC Plan For Single Unitary Authority

  1. Jules Cranwell Reply

    July 10, 2020 at 7:14 am

    Well they couldn’t do a worse job for Guildford than the current Lib Dems or the previous Tory regimes.

    It would also have the added advantage to eliminate the “double-hatters” who sit on both SCC and GBC.

  2. Howard Fancourt Reply

    July 15, 2020 at 9:22 pm

    Keep local issues for the locals.

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