A new unitary Somerset Council will launch on 1 April 2023 – just 100 days from now (22 December 2022). It will replace the existing County Council and four district councils (Mendip, Sedgemoor, Somerset West and Taunton and South Somerset).
The move is projected to free up £18.5million every year, helping to protect frontline services in challenging times by cutting duplication and enabling efficiencies.
It will end confusion about which council does what, while making it easier for people to get help, with a single telephone number and single website.
Somerset Council will be one of the largest unitary councils in England. Its scale will enable new approaches to tackling the big challenges faced today.
Cllr Val Keitch, Lead Executive Member for Local Government Reorganisation, said:
“This is the biggest shake up of local government in Somerset for 50 years. People will see some improvements from the start. In the years ahead, we’ll use this powerful new council to take on the big challenges such as improving opportunities for young people, managing the impacts of an aging population and addressing the cost-of-living and climate crises.
“Our new council will have strong links with local communities built in. New Local Community Networks (LCNs) will be launched across the county, with real power to influence the issues that matter to them.
“Creating a new council is a complex project but we are on track to deliver real benefits for the people of Somerset.”
Somerset residents should be reassured that bins will continue to be emptied, streets maintained, and planning applications considered. Social services will continue to care for vulnerable people; and businesses, community groups, the arts, leisure and heritage will continue to be supported.
Work will be phased, over at least the next two years, to optimise council services and develop opportunities for working in a more joined up way.