This page will be updated as and when new information becomes available
In 2020 the Government invited proposals for a new unitary council arrangement in Somerset. Where we currently have three tiers of councils – county, district and town – we will have two. Parish councils (Frome Town Council is classed as a parish council) will remain and will be joined by a unitary council replacing district and county councils.
Two proposals were put forward:
- Somerset County Council’s business plan for a single unitary council based on the current county border
- The business plan from the four district councils in Somerset which proposed two unitaries: East and West Somerset. In the east it was proposed to merge Mendip and South Somerset
In July 2021 the Government approved plans for the single unitary authority to be known as Somerset Council.
Frome Town Council successfully lobbied both groups to incorporate seven recommendations into their business plans. This is the first time a parish based view has been incorporated into a unitary business case anywhere in the country.
The seven recommendations are:
- A Charter for Somerset
- Local Ownership and devolution
- Localism and Solutions
- Local Governance
- Local Presence
- Trust and Partnership
- Parishes Working Together
|9 Dec 2020||One Somerset and Stronger Somerset submit their business plans to Govt|
|Feb-March 2021||Govt consults on the business cases – how this will happen is unknown at the time of writing|
|July 2021||Govt adopts the One Somerset business plan|
|5 May 2022||Unitary elections alongside Town/Parish elections|
|May 2022 – April 2023||The “shadow authority” will oversee the transition to unitary until Somerset Council is formally established in May 2023|
|1 April 2023||New unitary council goes live|
There is now a well established unitary project team comprising district and county staff overseen by Chief Executives of all five councils and there is a Local Government Reorganisation (LRG) committee comprising of senior councillors from the five councils. There is also a LGR advisory group that Frome’s Town Clerk Paul Wynne sits on as one of the two Parish and Town Clerk representatives. This group also includes representatives from the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the police, Somerset Association of Local Councils (SALC) and many third sector organisations.
Local Community Networks (LCN)
Frome Town Council’s Community Development Manager Kate Hellard has been working closely with our neighbouring parishes in the Frome Area Local Community Network pilot. Good progress is being made on the given pilot subject of children, young people and families.
Previous updates on unitary developments can be viewed at these links: