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Published on 14 December 2021
Archived on 14 January 2022
Stratford-on-Avon District Council has agreed to formally submit a request to the Secretary of State at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) to create a South Warwickshire District Council, following the Full Council meeting on Monday 13 December.
After a full debate, 26 members of the Council voted for the recommendations as set out in the report, three voted against and there were two abstentions.
(4) That Council makes a formal submission should be made to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to create a South Warwickshire District Council.
(5) Subject to recommendation (4), to approve the formal submission document to create a South Warwickshire District Council attached at Appendix 5 and to agree to delegate to the Chief Executives, in consultation with the respective Leaders of both Councils, to make any minor and typographical changes identified and to agree the covering letter.
(6) Subject to recommendation (4), to establish a joint member working group to review the issues raised in Section 4 and in addition, to agree that the working group works with WALC and other key parish and town councils to undertake a community governance and function review for South Warwickshire.
(7) Subject to recommendation (4), to agree to carry out a consultation with staff and Trades Unions on options for addressing harmonisation of staff terms and conditions including pay; and
(8) That should recommendation (4) above be not agreed, or that either Council does not agree to make a submission in relation to recommendation (4), an emergency Council meeting be arranged in early January so that a revised strategic approach can be discussed and agreed, prior to the setting of the annual budget for 2022/23 and beyond.
Cllr Tony Jefferson, Leader of Stratford-on-Avon District Council said: "This is a major historic decision on the future of local government in South Warwickshire. By taking this major strategic decision we are demonstrating our desire to control our own destiny. We believe this is the best decision for the benefit of our residents.
"The COVID pandemic has had an enormous impact on our communities and the Council. This proposal to create a South Warwickshire District Council together with Warwick gives us the opportunity to safeguard our services into the future as well as helping us respond to any new challenges coming down the line. There is already considerable synergy between the two Councils and, over time, the savings in costs will be substantial with significant benefits to residents from integration
"I'm sure our decision will have national significance and will provide a benchmark for other authorities looking to merge.
"The first crucial decision has been made, but the journey continues and there will be a lot of hard work ahead as it will be another two years before the new Council comes into existence if agreed and approved."
At Warwick District Council, Councillors approved the same recommendations with 23 members of the Council voting for the recommendations, 12 voting against and there were five abstentions.
Councillor Andrew Day, Leader of Warwick District Council said: "I am immensely proud that our Councillors have come to this brave and historic decision to go ahead and to build a new Council and shape our own destiny for the future of local Government in South Warwickshire.
"The widely recognised need for change has not only been identified, but is now being acted upon and now working with Stratford-on-Avon District Council we can start to build a vibrant, new, agile and strong Council to serve all our residents.
"I want to thank Councillors, stakeholders and residents for the many hours they have dedicated and insightful comments they have contributed."
What happens next?
The formal submission document: 'Proposal for a new South Warwickshire District Council', prepared jointly by both Councils, will now be sent by the end of the week to The Rt Hon Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.
Stratford-on-Avon District Council
Elizabeth House, Church Street,
Tel: 01789 267575