Plans to create a new single council for east Kent have been put on hold following a vote by Shepway District Council last night (Wednesday 22 March) not to proceed to public consultation.
The four east Kent councils each considered the findings of an independent report, which explored replacing the existing four local authorities with a new single east Kent council.
The Business Case, developed by Local Partnerships, identified this approach could achieve substantial savings, make greater efficiencies and realise opportunities for strengthening the east Kent economy if it went ahead.
The case considered projected savings and future scenarios on the basis of a four-way collaboration, so could only progress to the next stage of public consultation if each council voted to proceed.
Following the result, the councils will now each take time to consider the alternative future options.
Speaking on behalf of the east Kent councils, Thanet District Council’s Leader, Cllr Chris Wells, said: “After the important decision made by councillors in Shepway, we now need to take this opportunity to take stock and work hard to find a way forward together.
“We cannot shy away from the fact there are some big challenges facing the councils in east Kent and we need to think about new and innovative ways of tackling them.
“The levels of savings we each need to achieve have been widely documented, and that position remains the same. We now need to identify a suitable way forward to ensure we’re in the best possible position for the future of east Kent.
“Once we have gone through that process, we will come forward with fresh proposals.”