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Council calls for consultation over proposed changes

Published on Monday, 14th September 2020

Nuneaton and Bedworth people should have their say on proposed changes to local councils across Warwickshire.

That was the response of Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council (NBBC) leader Cllr Julie Jackson last week (Wednesday 9 September 2020) to recent calls for the borough council to be abolished.

Councillors on Nuneaton and Bedworth’s ruling Cabinet refused to support recent calls from Shire Hall for the formation of one new local authority for the whole of Warwickshire.

The new body would replace NBBC and councils in North Warwickshire, Stratford, Warwick and Rugby.

Cllr Jackson said:

“I think it is appalling to think that Warwickshire County Council’s Cabinet should think that it is appropriate to push to abolish this council, without first speaking to the good people of Nuneaton and Bedworth.”

A ‘case for change’ report prepared for Warwickshire County Council by consultants Price Waterhouse Cooper (PwC) looked at three options: Continue to improve current arrangements; Adopt a new structure with one joined up council for the whole of Warwickshire; and Adopt a new structure with two joined up councils, one in the north and one in the south of the county. The report recommended moving one joined up council for the whole of Warwickshire.

The government is due to publish a White Paper on proposals for local government reform this Autumn, and the PwC report suggested expressing an early view from Warwickshire to Whitehall might help accelerate the local proposals.

The resolution approved by NBBC’s Cabinet will now go forward for debate at Nuneaton and Bedworth’s full council meeting on Wednesday, where all councillors have an opportunity to join a debate.

Cllr Jackson added:

“If there is to be reform, then we need to hear what the proposals are in full and allow local people to get involved and give their views. There is a real danger that this move from Warwickshire County Council’s Cabinet has put the existing structure at risk and undermines the way we currently work, without residents being given any opportunity to contribute to the debate.”