Published in Weston and Worle Mercury 2nd August 2018.
With reference to Weston, Worle, and Somerset Mercury Story “Somerset councils discussing potential major governance overhaul with mergers mooted” in the July 26th, 2018 edition
Urban Weston-super-Mare is at a disadvantage because of its affluent rural area taking resources and its rural councillors taking decisions that don’t take into account the urban area’s different requirements. A merger with Sedgemoor would only exacerbate this.
By all means let rural North Somerset and mostly rural Sedgemoor combine but leave Weston out of any merger. Weston-super-Mare should by itself form a Unitary Authority, an independent Borough Council, just as it used to be until it was subsumed by Avon in 1974.
A Unitary Borough Council would act as a vehicle for the better representation of Weston-Super-Mare’s local interests to external bodies. Whereas North Somerset Council or a larger merged authority has to balance the competing needs and interests of the many communities across their territory and communities. A Unitary Weston-super-Mare Borough Council would have responsibility for a single and more homogenous community and would be able to be uninhibited by the loss of rural communities in advocating the interests of that urban community.
Councils should exist at a scale and with a scope that reflects people’s patterns of social interaction and their identification with a place. They can therefore act to facilitate community activities, organise and sponsor community events and promote community spirit and inclusiveness. Of the residents of Weston-super-Mare, who has ever said “North Somerset” when asked “Where are you from?”. The residents of Weston-super-Mare do not identify with North Somerset, we are Westonians, we want to control and manage our own affairs without the rural parts of North Somerset interfering with needs that they cannot relate to.
North Somerset Council is failing our Town; Weston-super-Mare residents must take back control of their Town’s future to allow us to thrive.