In an effort to find greater efficiencies in the wake of Covid-19, the Conservative Surrey County Council leader, Tim Oliver, has said that turning Surrey County Council into a unitary authority is being considered.
We believe this would pose a very serious threat to local democracy. As a strictly non-political association, devoted to the residents of Esher and Hersham Riverside, we are horrified that the contribution we make to life in our ward will be swept away.
Of the eleven borough/district councils that make up Surrey, the Conservatives control just three. So, you can see, getting rid of them in the name of efficiency (a word one hardly would associate with SurreyCC) is a slam dunk. Total power in one fell swoop, under the guise of Covid-19 financial pressures.
Oxfordshire is already facing a motion to postpone local elections to 2022 with proposals for a unitary authority being rumoured as councils await the Government’s plans to ‘unlock devolution across the country’ are mooted. Some democracy.
We know that most people care little about their borough council, but we’ve always believed that local life here is best run by councillors who don’t have a central party calling the shots and who work with a very local focus.
If you value local democracy, do watch this space – we won’t go down without a fight.