Business says yes to a single council

PUBLISHED: 14:44 19 March 2008 | UPDATED: 10:28 17 June 2010

BUSINESS leaders have supported scrapping the existing East Devon District Council and replacing it with a larger unitary authority. Their message follows a Government-ordered review into restructuring the whole local authority system in Devon following E

BUSINESS leaders have supported scrapping the existing East Devon District Council and replacing it with a larger unitary authority.Their message follows a Government-ordered review into restructuring the whole local authority system in Devon following Exeter City's failed unitary bid last year.East Devon District Council canvassed the views of East Devon Business Forum at a meeting last week.Among those attending was Rowan Carter, whose Sidmouth marina bid was recently rejected by the EDDC executive.Waitrose manager Mark Shepherd, Paul Duriez, new chair of Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce, and Tim Ford, of Ford's of Sidmouth also attended.The forum said it would support a unitary Eastern Devon Council taking in Exeter, East Devon, Crediton and Dawlish.Members felt a single authority, with boundaries that mirrored the areas from which people travelled to get to work in Exeter, was the best solution for business.All Devon councils have been told by the Electoral Commission's Boundary Committee it will only consider unitary government solutions for the county.Business Forum chairman Graham Brown said: "Members felt we should promote the concept of a new unitary council, reflecting the economic realities of the area."EDDC leader Councillor Sara Randall Johnson has previously said she wanted the status quo maintained.She said: "East Devon is a major growth area for the region, in terms of jobs and housing. "It is Exeter's land bank for residential and business development and has a great deal to offer the region's economy."She said EDDC intended to make the most of the advantages that position offered.Hugo Swire, MP for East Devon and a long-time critic of Exeter's bid, said in December: "I am very much against any potential Boundary Commission review which recommends a Devon unitary authority or merges bits of East Devon into an enlarged Exeter Unitary Authority."Mr Swire supported the exiting two-tier system and would like the status quo to be maintained.He saw the consultation situation as one forced upon EDDC and it has a duty to consult widely and do their best for business and residents in the area.l Have your say: should EDDC become part of a larger council or should it stay as it is?Write to 106 High Street, Sidmouth,, EX10 8EF or email peter.leriche@archant.co.uk

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