Overwhelming support from Councillors to back Stronger Somerset and a better future for all

Mendip District Council has backed an ambitious, innovative plan for local government reform.

In an historic vote that will impact future generations, elected Members supported the Stronger Somerset joint-proposal put forward by the Mendip District Council Logocounty's district councils.

Stronger Somerset would see the creation of two new unitary councils - East and West - with a combined authority. Its focus is on job creation, improvements in care and public health, investing in young people, and opportunities for all.

The magnitude of the decision, after months of research and consulting with experts throughout the UK, was not lost on Leader of Mendip District Council, Cllr Ros Wyke, at a special meeting of Full Council yesterday evening, Thursday 10th September 2020.

Cllr Wyke said: "Today is an important moment for all of Somerset. Decisions taken in the next few weeks will impact on generations to come.

"We have taken the first step in creating a stronger Somerset. Not simply through more reorganisation, but real reform of local government.Stronger Somerset text logo

"The Stronger Somerset proposal will ensure we are more responsive to local needs and more effective in delivering improved services where they are needed most. We are committed to communities, they must have a real voice be it rural or urban, in our city, towns and parishes. Stronger Somerset works, to deliver power to make local decisions. 

Cllr Wyke added: "Our response to Central Government's drive for unitarisation is innovative and ambitious. There will be better opportunities for all, everyone will have a voice, no-one will be left behind." 

The districts are expected to receive a formal invitation by the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, the Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP, to submit the Stronger Somerset proposal, in the coming weeks.

To find out more about the ambitious Stronger Somerset bid, and provide your feedback, visit www.strongersomerset.co.uk. Keep up-to-date on Twitter and Facebook @strongsomerset.

ENDS

Note to Editors:

Mendip District Council's Full Council met on Thursday 10th September 2020 to debate the Stronger Somerset Business Case, which proposes two new unitary Councils and a combined authority.  The Business Case was approved by Full Council following its unanimous endorsement by the Cabinet earlier this week who recommended its approval to Full Council.

Mendip District Council agreed to:

  1. Approve the Stronger Somerset Business Case for the reform of local government including the creation of two unitary Councils within Somerset.
  2. Delegate authority to the Leader of the Council and the Chief Executive, in consultation with the other Somerset District Leaders and Chief Executives, to make minor amendments to the Business Case as necessary and / or appropriate, ahead of its submission to the Secretary of State.
  3. Support the continuing consultation with local stakeholders, above and beyond any programme of consultation that may be required by the Government in due course.
  4. Note that in the best interests of the communities and residents of Mendip, the Council will continue to work with colleagues across all tiers of local government and public service in Somerset.

Mendip District Council has 47 members and the final decision went to a recorded votes with the following outcome:  

  • Votes for Item 1 as above.

For: (33)

Cllrs Rob Ayres, Alison Barkshire, Adam Boyden, Josh Burr, Simon Carswell, John Clarke, Shane Collins, Nick Cottle, Jon Cousins, Michael Dunk, Drew Gardner, Michael Gay, Peter Goater, Francis Hayden, Edric Hobbs, Damon Hooton, Chris Inchley, Helen Kay, Garfield Kennedy, Liz Leyshon, Barbara Lund, Lindsay MacDougall, Matt Martin, Janine Nash, Barry O'Leary, Sam Phripp, Richard Pinnock, Lois Rogers, Tom Ronan, Heather Shearer, Helen Sprawson-White, Lucie Taylor-Hood, Ros Wyke.

Against: (8)

Cllrs Eve Berry, Shannon Brooke, John Greenhalgh, Philip Ham, Tom Killen, Terry Napper, Mike Pullin, Nigel Woollcombe-Adams.

Absent: (2)

Cllrs Steve Henderson, Nigel Hewitt-Cooper.

Apologies: (4)

Cllrs Bente Height, Caroline McKinnell, Alan Townsend, Laura Waters.

  • Votes for Items 2, 3, 4 as above.

For: (33)

Cllrs Rob Ayres, Alison Barkshire, Adam Boyden, Josh Burr, Simon Carswell, John Clarke, Shane Collins, Nick Cottle, Jon Cousins, Michael Dunk, Drew Gardner, Michael Gay, Peter Goater, Francis Hayden, Edric Hobbs, Damon Hooton, Chris Inchley, Helen Kay, Garfield Kennedy, Liz Leyshon, Barbara Lund, Lindsay MacDougall, Matt Martin, Janine Nash, Barry O'Leary, Sam Phripp, Richard Pinnock, Lois Rogers, Tom Ronan, Heather Shearer, Helen Sprawson-White, Lucie Taylor-Hood, Ros Wyke.

Against: (4)

Cllrs Eve Berry, Tom Killen, Mike Pullin, Nigel Woollcombe-Adams.

Abstentions: (3)

Cllrs Shannon Brooke, John Greenhalgh, Philip Ham.

Absent: (3)

Cllrs Steve Henderson, Nigel Hewitt-Cooper, Terry Napper.

Apologies: (4)

Cllrs Bente Height, Caroline McKinnell, Alan Townsend, Laura Waters.