Somerset

Somerset local authorities merger to go ahead

West Somerset Council meeting
Image caption Councillors voted for the merger to go ahead at a meeting on Wednesday

Two district councils in Somerset are to merge in a bid to save money.

At a meeting on Wednesday evening, West Somerset councillors voted 21 to four in favour of a merge with neighbouring Taunton Deane Borough Council.

West Somerset is England's smallest district council. Taunton Deane councillors had already voted last month for the plan to go ahead.

It means a new single local authority will be formed covering the two existing districts.

West Somerset's Conservative leader Anthony Trollope-Bellew called it a "very sad day" but the "only way to protect local services".

The two authorities have been in a partnership and shared some staff since 2013.

The idea had divided opinion, with some seeing it as a threat to the council's powers, while others said it would save money which could be spent on services.

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