Waverley Borough Council could be scrapped

Waverley Borough Council could be scrapped

Waverley Borough Council could be scrapped under plans to make Surrey County Council a unitary authority.

The move could also see more powers handed to Cranleigh Parish Council.

Surrey County Council is considering the idea which would abolish the 11 borough and district councils in the county, instead creating a unitary authority.

The creation of a unitary authority is designed to reduce the “complexity of governance and reduce costs to the taxpayer.”

It follows an announcement earlier this month, when Simon Clarke MP, Minister for Housing, Communities and Local Government, said the government would publish a white paper ahead of legislation to create more unitary councils to “boost regional economic performance”.

If Surrey County Council becomes a unitary authority, it would receive more decision-making powers to cover areas including housing and planning applications.

Such a move might also give local parish and town councils greater responsibilities.

In a statement, Surrey County Council leader Tim Oliver said:

The Government have confirmed that a Recovery and Devolution White Paper will be published later this year. We understand that it will set out their thinking on the future shape of local government in England as well as seeking views.

This will provide a significant opportunity to shape the future of the sector to better meet the needs of residents. With increased local powers and the right structural reform for Surrey, I’m confident we will deliver better services, more value for money and a simplified and more accountable system of local government for residents.

The government is likely to encourage unitarisation where possible, and we think this could bring a whole raft of benefits for Surrey and its residents if it’s done right. We must be ready to take the opportunities made available in the forthcoming White Paper, and ensure that any future system of government in Surrey genuinely works for all our residents, and makes good economic and practical sense.

Under the current system of local authorities in Surrey, the County Council has responsibility for education, transport, libraries and waste management across the county.

A series of borough and district councils are then responsible for local services including housing, environmental health, deciding on planning applications and waste collection.

At a hyper-local level, town or parish councils are responsible for areas like parks, community centres, cemeteries and allotments.

Across the UK, several unitary authorities already exist, including those in Dorset, Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire, the latest to become a unitary authority in April.

If Surrey County Council becomes a unitary authority in the future, it would likely mean the election of a larger number of councillors.

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