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3rd Dec, 2021

Stratford and Warwick councils set to decide on historic merger move

STRATFORD and Warwick District Councils are moving a step closer towards creating a single statutory South Warwickshire Council by 2024.

This week, both authorities will decide on the future shape and delivery of council services in South Warwickshire.

Councillor Tony Jefferson, Leader of Stratford District Council, which covers Alcester and Studley, said: “The Covid pandemic has had an enormous impact on our communities and the Council.

“The Deloitte report (into the prospect of uniting the two authorities) clearly identifies that there are significant benefits from our two authorities continuing to integrate.

“Without doubt, this is one of the most significant issues in the history of the District Council.”

Stratford and Warwick District Council are looking at joining forces. Picture by Marcus Mingins 0521008MMR2

The Deloitte report will be presented to the district council’s cabinet on Tuesday, February 9, where Members will be discussing the future relationship between the two councils, before final recommendations go to full council on Monday, February 22.

Neighbouring Redditch will be watching proceedings with interest, particularly as the government has indicated it favours single tier local authorities.

Coun Andrew Day, Leader of Warwick District Council said: “Out of crisis often comes opportunity.

“Our two councils have much in common and working together we’ve been able to respond positively to the pandemic.

“The local Recovery Plan will be strengthened if councillors decide to take this historic step, giving an opportunity to improve local government services across South Warwickshire, generating greater value for our residents and taxpayers.”

Warwick District Council will discuss the report at their executive on Thursday, February 11 before going before full council on Wednesday, February 24. The recommendations are the same.

There are many similarities between the two councils – they share the economic geography – WDC and SDC have the highest GVAs in the West Midlands, there’s a shared sense of community between the authorities and they already share two management roles with wider integration expected this year.

Work has also started on the production of joint local plan and a joint procurement process has started for a joint refuse and recycling contract.

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