Tory plan to split up Kirklees Council

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RADICAL plans are being drawn up by Conservative councillors to split up Kirklees.

They want to create two separate councils for north and south Kirklees and merge services with Calderdale.

They also want to re-draw Calderdale electoral boundaries.

The aim is to cut costs and improve services while allowing each district to retain some form of autonomy.

Kirklees Tory group leader Robert Light will spell out the details next week at a joint meeting with Calderdale leader Stephen Baines.

In a statement, they said: “The ideas that we will be putting forward offer a radical change to local government in our neighbouring councils, and the opportunity to re-invent the way our local authorities are run for the ultimate benefit of residents.

“It will offer the opportunity for the biggest change in local government in West Yorkshire since the creation of the five metropolitan councils in 1973.

“A split of Kirklees into two separate councils based in the north and south of the borough providing local services to local people under local democratic control, and offering better value for money and improved services.”

Last August, Calderdale, Bradford, Leeds, Kirklees and Wakefield councils signed an agreement to share legal expertise and resources which is expected to save about £1.6 million a year across the authorities.

Taking that a step further might involve one chief executive or director becoming responsible for key services across several councils.

There has been speculation in the past of an outright merger of Calderdale and Kirklees, but the idea is deemed by many to be electorally unacceptable.

Conservatives hold 21 of the 52 seats on Calderdale Council and 21 of the 69 on Kirklees Council.

They are hoping to make significant gains in the May elections, the last elections for two years to improve their chances of implementing any service restructuring.