Letter: Single-tier district councils will not succeed

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The Independent Online
Sir: Of course the district council chiefs would like to see the government review go through (Letters, 21 April). They would, wouldn't they? As a voter, I sincerely hope it does not.

The assumption that district councils are more accountable and responsive to local views is not necessarily a good one. County councils, being just that little more remote, can often take a more unbiased and rational view on local issues. In Hampshire, we have a superb county council which has done an excellent and enlightened job in protecting the county. Our local council, in contrast, seems more interested in the large town on our doorstep (Basingstoke). For example, despite local representations it insists on a pounds 1 parking fee (for more than two hours) in Alton, a policy which is slowly strangling our High Street by ensuring that shoppers at the (edge-of-town) superstore do not linger and explore this lovely town.

Even assuming that the local councils are responsive to local people, it cannot make sense to break up services which need a wide local co-ordination, such as social, educational and environmental services, into small units. All this will do is encourage a growth in bureaucrats trying desperately to 'co-ordinate' across council borders.

And dare I also argue, that as such a tiny percentage of the money spent by councils is now raised locally and so many local services are provided by contractors, the tier that should remain in any case should be the county, not the district councils?

Yours sincerely,

LESLEY ELLIS

Powntley Copse, Hampshire

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