Support for One Somerset
A single council for Somerset Growing Support
One Somerset is backed by a large coalition that includes public sector partners, town and parish councils, the voluntary and community sector, the former Police and Crime Commissioner, a majority of local MPs, businesses and our residents.
They all agree that a new single council for Somerset is the best way to end confusion and waste, improve public services, and free up funds to be reinvested where needed the most. One Somerset would do exactly that.
Showing support What people are saying
I strongly believe that a single unitary authority to replace the county council and the four district councils in the county is the best option for the future. Not only would a single unitary model deliver significant annual savings that could be reinvested into front line services, it would also join up and improve local service delivery with key partners including health and police (both of whom support a single unitary). Aside from these real-world savings, achievable through lack of duplication and better management, the proposal would also give a real boost to local decision making, enhancing the role of parish and town councils to make sure that people’s voices can make a real difference at a more local level. We need to move to a single unitary in Somerset as soon as possible, helping our communities to recover from the pandemic, whilst delivering on what our residents want: better local services and better value for money.
Marcus Fysh, MP for Yeovil
I am a strong supporter of a single council for Somerset because I believe it would bring significant and tangible benefits to residents and businesses across the County. Having one council responsible for all local government services would end the current confusion, waste and duplication of a two tier system; it would build on lessons learned over the last year in dealing with the pandemic where it was clearly demonstrated that better aligning public services ultimately delivers better services and value for money, something that is important for my constituents. Local hubs to ensure local people are fully linked up and served across all parts of Somerset will need to be an integral part of the overall strategy of a unitary authority so that local identities are retained. I believe it’s a win, win for Somerset and I would encourage anyone who wants the best possible public services to support a single council approach.
Rebecca Pow MP, Taunton Deane
Having spent a great deal of time over the last few months examining the differing proposals, engaging with local elected officials, talking to colleagues in Government and hearing the views of countless constituents, I’m delighted to give the One Somerset vision my support. A single unitary authority will ensure that local people can engage directly with those making decisions on their behalf and hold them accountable. Precedents from elsewhere (including neighbouring Wiltshire) show that engagement with individual communities will remain an indispensable part of the new unitary authority, and I’ll continue to work with Somerset County Council and Ministers to ensure these proposals reflect the best interests of all my constituents.
David Warburton, MP for Somerton and Frome
One of my priorities is to make communities more resilient and resistant to crime. That means working in close partnership with local authorities on a host of key issues from tackling domestic abuse and child sexual exploitation to reducing reoffending. The One Somerset proposal offers clear benefits in terms of reducing duplication and increasing accountability by limiting the number of different organisations involved. This will help us all focus on what’s important – building safer communities for our residents.
Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Shelford (elected May 2021)
A single council will bring greater clarity to residents who often tell me that there is confusion. A unitary authority will have a much better overview of bringing economic wellbeing to our county.
Former Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner (2012 - 2021), Sue Mountstevens
What others are saying about the benefits of a single council
“The benefits of a single council, delivering all of the county and district services should not be underestimated. One council reduces the cost of service delivery allowing you to invest more in front-line services, one council gives you a quicker response to business as usual and in an emergency. One council gives a louder, single voice for your area to secure resources and make a difference. One council engaging with Government, making your voice heard.”
Cllr Spencer Flower, Leader of Dorset Council (moved to single council in 2019)
“It is absolutely clear to me that the creation of the new Buckinghamshire Council was the correct decision by Government and has been a success. It has also strengthened our sense of place creating the ability to provide strong direction and partnership to our colleagues in the NHS, Fire, Police and voluntary sector”
Cllr Martin Tett, Leader of Buckinghamshire Council (moved to a single council in 2020)
“At the moment I have a lot of dealings with these councils and it is confusing and frustrating at times to have to deal with more than one authority. So I would vote firmly for one council for the county of Somerset.”
Kit Chapman, owner of the Castle in Taunton and Founder, Director and Trustee of Arts Taunton
“Running a business today can already be a complex task, particularly for smaller, rural businesses such as ours which make up a large part of Somerset’s economy. A single unitary authority will simplify and unify policies and businesses, giving us a stronger voice in Central Government.”
Fisher and Company Engineering Services
“To me, it is common sense to become One Somerset. This will make working together easier and I look forward to the efficiencies and streamlining this will bring to council operations.”
“A single authority would ensure that developments which occur on current district boundaries adequately consider impacts within their whole environs rather than just that within which the application lies. I feel that the costs of maintaining four district authorities outweighs the benefits that the current structure might provide.”
Clarkson and Woods
“As the largest youth work charity in the county, and the provider of significant emotional wellbeing and mental health early intervention services, we completely recognise the proposed efficiency and efficacy of a single-tier system. I am confident that the VCSE sector in Somerset will be an integrated component in the One Somerset structure – and can contribute fully to the efforts of the Local Community Networks once established.”
Nik Harwood, Chief Executive of Young Somerset
“A single unitary body is a sensible approach and, as a business supplying everyone who lives and works in Somerset, it would simplify our own relationships, as well as bringing consistency and savings for everyone across the county.”
“This completely makes sense. Most areas now have a unitary authority as it means less bureaucracy, greater equity across the county, and more money for services. This does not mean that local voices cannot be heard, or local needs are not considered when decisions are made.”
Yvonne Vigar, Astara Consulting Ltd
“As a successful Somerset business, trading throughout the South and West of England, we are pleased to support the One Somerset campaign for a single unitary council. It will enable the county to become more efficient, attract new investment and talent, save costs and provide better business support.”
David Phelps, Taunton Fabrications