Shocking £126k bill for shelved Nottinghamshire 'super-council' plans
A plan to create a new ‘super council’ for Nottinghamshire cost £126,000 before it was shelved last year.
One council leader described it as a ‘total waste of council money’, after a Freedom of Information request revealed £126,137 was spent on outside contractors to put the scheme together.
The real cost is likely to be ‘many thousands more’, because top-level officers at Nottinghamshire County Council were heavily involved in drawing up the plan, which was opposed by many district and borough councils.
The controversial scheme, proposed by the Conservative-run Nottinghamshire County Council , involved dissolving borough councils, district councils, and the county council itself.
These would then have been replaced by one county-wide authority, covering all of Nottinghamshire apart from the city.
Supporters said it would save millions in the long run by removing duplication, and make services more streamlined.
But critics argued it would erode local decision-making and be hugely costly and bureaucratic to set up.
Councillor John Clarke is the Labour leader of Gedling Borough Council, which opposed the plan.
He said: “It was a total waste of public money. We could have done something really useful with that money.
“I’m glad they (the counties) saw sense and pulled back, it’s not something people in our area wanted, and I’m not sure there was much of an appetite anywhere else in the county either.
“I hope that’s the end of it now.
“I’m told she (Councillor Cutts) has been told by (Government) ministers to back off the plan, but whether she will or not you never quite know.
“You never know whether they will try to bring it back.”
Councillor Jason Zadrozny is the leader of Ashfield District Council and said: “The initial £126,000 cost of the county council’s botched consultation is just the tip of the iceberg. It refers to just the first phase of the consultation and doesn’t take into account any council officer’s time. The figure will be many thousands of pounds more.
“Councils are facing significant financial challenges and are having to make tough decisions. Just last week, the county council put some bus fares for some of the poorest families up by a whopping 17 percent. They plan to do the same next year.
“I warned the Conservatives in the county council that their plans were ill thought-out and that it wouldn’t happen.
“Despite this, Councillor Kay Cutts tried to pursue an illogical power grab that the public rightly rejected. The public will be asking how on earth this Council got away with it. Someone needs to be accountable for this wanton waste of money.”
Nottinghamshire County Council declined to comment on the cost of the project.