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Opinion : Will the change to a Unitary Council increase the levels of local government in Wycombe?

| February 4, 2019

As everyone is aware by now, changes to local government will soon give Buckinghamshire a Unitary Authority to replace the current five municipal organisations.

The world ‘unitary’ is defined as : ‘forming a single or uniform entity‘. Single of course means one.

Indeed the creation of the new Unitary Authority will see five Councils (the four District Councils and the County Council) merge into one organisation. At least that’s what my good self thought.

However it seems that now there is talk of a ‘Town Council’ in High Wycombe and in some areas a ‘Parish Council’ springing up on top of the new Unitary Council.

What was supposed to be ‘one’ Council is turning into a three level structure of government. At the moment in Wycombe we only have a two level structure with the County and District Councils.

It’s bad enough with two levels of bureaucracy to contend with and fund through the Council Tax. What on earth is going to happen if someone is unlucky enough to have a home in an area with a Unitary, Town and Parish Council and hence a three level structure?

Think of all the councillors that will need to be elected for a three level structure!

Think of all the money needed to fund a three level structure of local government!

Think of the bureaucracy involved if three different organisations are busy providing different services to the same area!

The mind boggles at the prospect of ‘one’ being turned into ‘three’!

Oh dear. What looked line a once in a lifetime opportunity to streamline services and provide cost savings to the long suffering local tax payers is slowly turning into a bureaucratic nightmare of complexity beyond belief.

From what my good self can see the only benefit to a three level structure is to those who see it as their ‘duty’ to serve the public and sit on the councils.

No doubt there will be some who endeavour to have a seat at all three levels of government, which incidental will no doubt boost their chances of being mentioned in a not too distant ‘honours list’ so they can go the palace to meet Her Majesty and get their gong.

Only in Wycombe could a ‘streamlining’ process turn into more ‘complexity’. Is it any wonder Frogmoor is in such a state?

Has the creation of the Unitary Authority not effectively resulted in some parts of Wycombe being shot in the foot with a double (or should that be triple?) barrelled shotgun?

In my opinion surely it would be better to leave things as they are with just two levels of local government rather than upsetting the apple cart and marking things even more complicated?

Rather than worrying about creating more levels of government to cost the Council Tax payers more surely Wycombe should be trying to get the new Unitary authority based in Wycombe rather than Aylesbury? Of course this approach would require leadership, vision, planning and forethought which sadly has been notably absent in Wycombe for years.

When the local government structure changes then surely all of Buckinghamshire should have just one level of government, if this can’t be the case then I say keep things are they are.

What do you think?

My blogs are published regularly here on the WycombeToday.com website.

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