EDDC leader demands Government put stop to Devon's unitary proposals

PUBLISHED: 18:31 15 July 2009 | UPDATED: 09:40 18 June 2010

THE leader of East Devon District Council has called on the Government to bring down the curtain on the Whitehall Farce that the Unitary proposals for Devon have become. Councillor Sara Randall Johnson says time is running out for the Government if it w

THE leader of East Devon District Council has called on the Government to bring down the curtain on the "Whitehall Farce" that the Unitary proposals for Devon have become.

Councillor Sara Randall Johnson says time is running out for the Government if it wants to "impose this unwanted and unsatisfactory new local government system on Devon".

And she sent an open message to new Local Government Minister John Denham, saying: "I call on the Minister to stop the show now. All that's left to the Government is to pretend to go on with the process to save face. They know it's dead in the water, so why not come clean and admit it?

"This farce has gone beyond a joke and no one is laughing any more. The kindest thing to do would be to put everyone out of their misery - especially the poor, beleaguered Boundary Committee, who are clearly completely out of their depth.

"Let's call a halt to the show now and save the expense and distraction of further protracted litigation. Then we can all get on with the important business of working with colleagues at County and in other districts to deliver the best services for Devon people - free from the distraction and worry of this sword hanging over us".

EDDC's Executive Board was last night (Wednesday) expected to welcome the Boundary Committee's acceptance that it cannot yet report to the Secretary of State following the High Court's quashing of its procedure. This can only strengthen Members' resolve to maintain pressure on the Government.

Sara Randall Johnson made her comments following news that there are to be further delays in the process of choosing an alternative to the current 'two-tier' system.

She was reacting to the Communities and Local Government Secretary's decision to extend indefinitely the deadline for the Boundary Committee to report to him on their recommended Unitary Government option for Devon. They had been due to report today.

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