ESSEX-UK-L ArchivesArchiver > ESSEX-UK > 2002-04 > 1019241587
From: "Chris Goddard" <>
Subject: Unitary councils - was Tiptree Heath Occupations
Date: Fri, 19 Apr 2002 19:39:47 +0100
References: <B8E4D6C1.1053%DianElvin@bigpond.com> <OE36J3At47sezmFhkwN00002faa@hotmail.com>
> There are also Unitary Authorities which are a collection of Boroughs or
> Districts that have elected to become Independant of their County Council.
I hate to be picky, but working as I do for a unitary...
They were created as a result of Local Government Reorganisation during the
1990s. The review of local government in the UK was announced in the same
speech as the demise of the Community Charge (or poll tax).
In Wales the unitaries were created by combining existing district/borough
councils or splitting the existing counties. The aim was to create
single-tier authorities. There was no consultation with the citizens of
Wales - the groupings were imposed, all in one year.
In England, the wishes of citizens and councils were taken into account.
Berkshire County Council - in a fit of madness - voted themselves out of
existence, only to discover that it was really necessary. Too late now.
The larger cities which had lost centuries of independence in 1974's
reorganisation regained them. This includes, for example, Peterborough,
Southampton, Portsmouth, Stoke-on-Trent, Derby, Nottingham and Plymouth.
There are no parish councils in these unitaries.
There were also a few English oddities where local pressure resulted in very
small authorities of a less than ideal size. For example, Torbay, Rutland
and BANES (Bath and North-East Somerset).
Somerset is full of confusion as there is now Somerset County Council (with
districts and parishes at levels below), North Somerset Council (a unitary)
and Bath and North-East Somerset (another unitary).
The county of Avon, created artificially in 1974 from the County of Bristol,
and parts of Somerset and Gloucestershire, was split into South
Gloucestershire (not to be confused with Gloucestershire County Council),
Bath and North-East Somerset, North Somerset, and the City of Bristol. These
are still known as the CUBANs - the County that Used to Be Avon.
In Essex, Southend and Thurrock were created as single-tier authorities. As
unitaries, they do not have parish councils. I believe that they "buy in" a
lot of their services (such as their library computer systems) from Essex
County Council. In the rest of Essex, a three tier (parish, district,
county) administration remains.
Which is why historians tend to use the pre-1974 counties, though even their
boundaries have changed over the centuries.
Both lots of reorganisations were - perhaps ironically - brought in by