Councillors from Taunton Deane Borough Council (TDBC) and West Somerset Council voted to merge the two councils at a ‘historic’ meeting on Monday 19th March.
The following press release was issued: “Two Somerset councils that have been in formal partnership for almost five years have agreed to give their consent to the start of the legal process that would create a single new council.
“Taunton Deane Borough and West Somerset Councils have been partners since 2013 and have a single – One Team – of staff.
“Now they are preparing to go a step further by creating a single, transformed and modernised council to cover both geographical areas in order to deliver substantial savings to the public purse.
“Both councils met on Monday evening – at Oake Manor Golf Club, near Taunton – to consider a recommendation to give consent to the process that would see both existing councils dissolved to create a single new council and to support a review of the unparished area of Taunton Deane at the earliest possible opportunity.
“The decisions remain subject to a final decision being made on the proposal by the Minister for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid MP.
“Cllr John Williams, Leader of Taunton Deane Borough Council, said: “The partnership between the two councils has been very successful and has delivered year-on-year savings of £1.8m. In Taunton Deane this has meant we have been able to continue delivering these important front-line services that we know people need and value.
“Looking ahead, we want to increase those savings by a further £3.1m a year through transforming the way we work and creating a new council and the savings made, ploughed back into maintaining and enhancing the much valued services we provide to our community.”
West Somerset councillors voted to back the merger with 17 for, one against and seven abstentions while Taunton Deane’s vote was much closer with 26 voting for the merger, 22 voting against and three abstentions.