Plans for new unitary councils in Cumbria, North Yorkshire and Somerset have taken an important step forward following approval from Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick.
For Cumbria two unitary councils will be established - an East unitary council covering Barrow, Eden and South Lakeland and a West unitary council covering Allerdale, Carlisle and Copeland, and in North Yorkshire and Somerset, a new single unitary council will be established for each county area; all subject to Parliamentary approval.
The locally-led plans are being taken forward after a period of consultation which considered views from residents, business leaders and councils.
The Local Government Secretary has asked the existing councils and their partners to work collaboratively and constructively together to drive forward the process of establishing unitary councils.
Moving forward, Parliamentary approval will be sought to implement these locally led plans for the area. At the turn of the year, a draft structural changes Order will be laid in Parliament. This will include plans for the necessary transitional arrangements, including for elections in May 2022 for the future unitary councils.
The consultation which was launched in February asked a number of questions about each proposal around value for money, proposed geography of the council and impact of the proposal on local services.
There were over 13,000 responses from residents, councils in neighbouring areas, health providers, the police, Local Enterprise Partnerships, businesses voluntary groups and educational bodies.
The three criteria which had to be met before a proposal was accepted were: