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Two authorities to become one in Arbory/Rushen merger

Thu, 26 Sep 2019


Two local authorities in the south of the Island have agreed to join forces after what’s been described as a ‘momentous and historic’ decision.
 
Following a joint meeting held last week, Arbory and Rushen Commissioners signed off on the creation of a one authority – two parish system.
 
In a press release, a spokesperson says it will become the ‘second-largest’ local government body in the south, with the ‘least expensive’ administration.
 
Each board has agreed to cut membership from five to three commissioners representing each parish.
 
It’s said the move , which has been discussed for several years, will be cost neutral, will cut down administration, and could ‘generate savings in future years’.
 
Infrastructure Minister Ray Harmer will have to consider the proposal and have it approved by Tynwald before the change comes into effect.
 
The unanimous decision reached by the Arbory and Rushen boards comes after public meetings earlier this month were held to discuss the change with parishioners.
 
The two authorities, which already share the same clerk, had tabled two options in a consultation held in August – this included either an administrative, or full union.
 
Arbory chairman Stephen Gawne says feedback was mainly positive, although a ‘small minority’ were concerned about loss of identity in the parishes.
 
He’s downplayed these fears, and insists the boards ‘will now be in a stronger position to fight off unwelcome advances from our neighbours’.
 
Stan Pilling, the chairman of Rushen Commissioners, says this ‘next step’ will lead to exciting times for ratepayers over the next few years.
 

 

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