PLANS to create a new council for Somerset are now being actioned following a key Government decision this week.

On Wednesday, the Government announced that all five existing councils in Somerset will be replaced by a new single unitary authority by April 2023.

Somerset County Council leader David Fothergill has written to Robert Jenrick, the Secretary for State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, to acknowledge the decision and confirm the county council’s commitment to working closely with all four district councils to build the new council.

District council leaders and chief executives have also been invited to a series of meetings to agree a positive way forward.

The new authority - which needs to be approved by MPs - was supported by the county council, while the districts proposed an alternative of two councils covering separate halves of Somerset.

Cllr Fothergill said: “The Secretary of State has been very clear in saying he expects all five councils to work together collaboratively and constructively to build a new council which will deliver the quality public services people in Somerset deserve.

“We’re fully committed to this and keen to get the ball rolling as quickly as possible.

"We’re also inviting partners, town and parish councils, businesses and residents to also get involved through new consultative groups.

“This week’s decision is a fantastic opportunity for us to re-energise local government in Somerset, bringing together the very best of our district and county councils and creating something really special.”

In Cllr Fothergill’s letter, he thanks Mr Jenrick for considering the business case and comprehensively assessing it against the three key tests – that any proposal must improve local government and service delivery in the county, have a credible geography including between 300–600,000 in population, and command a good deal of local support in the round.

The MP said the One Somerset proposal was the only one that met all three tests and was assessed as strongly meeting the key requirement that it should improve local government and service delivery.