Shropshire may face abolition

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SHROPSHIRE County Council should disappear, with the county's two-tier system of local government being replaced by two new all-purpose unitary councils, the Local Government Commission recommended yesterday.

Shropshire County Council and the county's six borough and district councils would, according the commission's proposals, be succeeded by one unitary authority based on the Wrekin district - possibly including the Bridgnorth District parishes of Sheriffhales, Shifnal, Tong, Boscobel, Albrighton, Boningale and Donington.

A second unitary authority would include the areas presently administered by the district and borough councils of North Shropshire, South Shropshire, Shrewsbury and Atcham, Oswestry and parts of Bridgnorth.

The new authorities would liaise on shared interests such as strategic planning and there would be a new fire authority for Shropshire. West Mercia police authority would remain.

The commission, which has a brief to review local government organisation in England, also suggests that the present two-tier system could be retained if public consultation suggests an overwhelming preference for the status quo.

On Tuesday, the commission recommended that Hertfordshire should retain its present two-tier system. However, it also offered a less favoured alternative of four new unitary authorities.

On Monday, the commission recommended that Derby should have its own unitary authority but that the rest of Derbyshire should continue to be administered by a county council and eight district councils.