Friday, 27 July 2007

Cornwall and Exeter to be unitary authorities

Unsurprisingly the weather which led to such severe flooding in Worcestershire and Gloucestershire has been THE story of the past week but of course other events have been happening in the meantime. One such was the decision by the government to provisionally grant unitary status to Cornwall and to Exeter. Caradon and some of the other district councils in Cornwall had canvassed people's opinions as to the rightness of this proposal; I have to say I voted to retain the status quo.

Lets put aside my normal aversion to change for the moment. From an atlas it can be seen that Cornwall is much longer than it is wide. Geographically we are a long distance from Truro which is where the county council operate from. I am quite concerned that decision makers particularly in such matters as planning are going to be so far away.

Pause here while I check the road distance to Truro. It's just over 50 miles which is a fair distance. I'm just not comfortable with the decision making being that far away. Taking away one layer of bureaucracy should reduce council tax I must admit. But I'm always sceptical about the assumed value of such savings.

As to Exeter going it alone it's understandable that Devon County Council aren't too happy as the county will become proportionately more rural (I think it might leave Exmouth as its largest town). It would be interesting to know whether the County Council would retain County Hall which of course is in Exeter itself. Such a retention might not set a precedent because - and this is second hand information - Kingston upon Thames is still the seat of power for Surrey even though the town is now part of Greater London. I would have guessed it was Guildford rather than Kingston but what do I know!

No comments: