City council expansion: Plans will be scrapped if ‘super council’ doesn’t happen

Nottingham City Council Loxley House © westbridgfordwire.com
Nottingham City Council Loxley House © westbridgfordwire.com

The leader of Nottingham City Council, Jon Collins, has said he will shelve a scheme to enlarge the city’s boundaries if the ‘super council’ plan does not go through.

The city council is working on a plan to change what it sees as the ‘under-bounded’ limits of the city.

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This could see it expand into Gedling and Broxtowe.

The meeting today brought together the leaders and chief executives of all Nottinghamshire borough and district councils, as well as the city council and the county council.

It was the first time local government re-organisation has been discussed with all nine councils in public.

The county council says it intends to press on with its plan, which would see all borough and district councils, and the county council abolished.

There would then be one or two, ‘super councils’ covering all of Nottinghamshire, apart from the city.

They say this would deliver significant financial savings and help to protect frontline services.

The city council says it has no desire for local government re-organisation and is only drawing up the plans to counteract the county council’s super council plan.

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They argue that the city’s boundaries are too small and that while the ‘real’ population of Nottingham is just under 500,000 people, the boundaries only take in around 300,000.

Council leader Jon Collins, who represents the St Ann’s ward for Labour, said: “It is not a huge priority to us, but what we are absolutely clear about, and what I’ve been consistent about, is that we can’t allow a unitary authority of 900,000 people totally surrounding the city, and being responsible for half of the city. We will fight that as far as we possibly can.

“You would have the city council responsible for the inner city, and a county council responsible for the other half. The city needs to be run by one council, and that’s the city council.”

Richard Jackson is the Conservative leader of Broxtowe Borough Council, and supports the county council’s unitary plan.

He said: “I’m picking up some resistance from people in my patch, which you would say is in Greater Nottingham, of people saying they don’t want to be part of the city.

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“There is going to be a change sooner or later, and I would rather be involved in what it’s going to look like rather than having it done to us.”

John Clarke is the leader of Labour-run Gedling Borough Council and is opposed to the super council plan.

He said: “Firstly, I welcome the fact this meeting is open so that whatever we discuss can be reported back.

“It’s obvious from our soundings in Gedling that people want to keep Gedling, they’re proud of it, but we’re not foolish enough to not recognise that change will come at some point.

“We need to be there for it and ready as a borough so we can deliver the quality services people want.”

The city council had hoped that it could take selected parts of Rushcliffe, Broxtowe and Gedling, such as West Bridgford and Stapleford, into the city.

However today Councillor Collins acknowledged that it would only be able to take over entire districts and that it was currently considering Broxtowe and Gedling.