Government puts a halt to proposed changes to local government in Warwickshire

  Posted: 11.10.20 at 20:33 by The Editor

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A letter from the Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government Luke Hall MP to the leader of Warwickshire County Council Cllr Izzi Seccombe this weekend has put a halt to what could have been vast changes to the face of local government in Warwickshire.

The plan submitted by the cabinet of the county council at the beginning of the month would have seen Bedworth's local authority, Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council, be amalgamated with the four other district and borough councils, as well as the county council.

This was part of the county council's Strategic Case for Change report that was presented in early September. The report was in favour of Warwickshire forming a single unitary authority for local government, to replace the current two-tier model, as part of the government's proposed White Paper on local government reform.

The county council submitted their proposal to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government at the beginning of the month, in the hope that Warwickshire would be invited to make a case for change like authorities in Cumbria, Somerset, and North Yorkshire have been.

However Luke Hall's reply said "whilst I recognise you have also asked for an invitation, the pandemic has rightly necessitated resources across Whitehall and in local government being re-allocated to tackling Covid-19 and on economic recovery, and this must be Whitehall's and town halls' number one priority at present."

He ends the letter by stating "I would like to stress that this is not a formal invitation kickstarting the process of unitarisation.

MP Luke Hall wrote to the county council leader at the end of last week

"If and when the Secretary of State were to issue an invitation to Warwickshire councils, it would then be for each council to decide whether to submit a unitary proposal, and if so what form that should take."

The discussion over local government in Warwickshire was sparked after Stratford and Warwick District Councils announced that they were going to merge.

This prompted the county council to commission a report by PWC into local government in the are which found that a single unitary model was the overwhelming recommendation. This was the Strategic Case for Change Report

This was then followed by the five district and borough councils commissioning their own report with Deloitte. This found that the best solution was for two new bodies to be formed. This would have seen Bedworth's governance fall under the Northern council encapsulating Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council, North Warwickshire Borough Council, and Rugby Borough Council, whilst the other two would form a new council for the north of the county.

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A message from the Editor, Nick Hudson

Hi, I'm Nick Hudson, the Editor of Bedworth Nub News.

I began my local news career almost half a century ago by covering the three towns of Bedworth, Nuneaton & Atherstone for the old Observer. My first job was to collect the immaculately-typed copy of the 'Queen of Memories' Mary Ashmore from her Longford home.

I reported from the sidelines as the forward-thinking Bedworth Urban District Council was joined at the hip with neighbouring Nuneaton and worked as one authority from May 1974.

In 1983 I had the opportunity to launch the Trader weekly newspaper into Bedworth and Nuneaton for free entrepreneur Lionel Pickering.

It would be 30 years before I returned as the press secretary to the borough's first citizen Bob Copland whose charity fund in 2013-14 raised a record-breaking £70,000 and saw the magnificent achievement of the opening of the Mayor's Cafe and Community Gardens by the end of his year in office.

I'm now returning to my journalistic roots and I want you - the great people of Bedworth - to join me in making the news in your own images.

We're going back in time to resurrect a bygone golden age of local reporting - made famous by old colleagues Mort Birch and Alan Robinson who launched the Bedworth Echo 40 years ago and then seven years ago last week when Mort joined another former friend and scribe Steve Evans in creating the monthly Bedworth Post.

Both papers set out to inform, entertain and fascinate with stories about the people and places that reflect the character, flavour and rich heritage of a town steeped in history from the Domesday Book of 1086 through hat making to ribbon weaving and most famously, mining.

Bedworth Nub News will hope to capture all the above while embracing the advantages of the modern digital era where information is available 24/7 with "your town in your pocket".

The town is rooted in community spirit - something that has returned to the landscape of the UK since the awful events of the coronavirus crisis.

And Nub News can be the perfect platform for your organisation, charity, business, church, school, sports team - anyone in fact - to share your fantastic achievements with the community.

We're here to get to that heart and soul of Bedworth, delivering local news and covering national issues that impact on your doorstep.

There will always be a good read on Bedworth Nub News - because it's about you.

You can contact me with your Bedworth news by phoning 07852 490666 or by emailing [email protected].