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Crisis talks for 'at risk' local council

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: November 29, 2012

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Leaders of crisis-torn West Somerset District Council have been summoned to a special meeting this morning to explain what steps they are taking over the authority's future.

Chief executive Adrian Dyer and leader Councillor Tim Taylor are expected to face a grilling from Councillor Neil Clarke, chairman of the District Councils Network, at a meeting in Taunton.

Councillor Clarke, leader of Rushcliffe Borough Council in Nottinghamshire, was the author of a Local Government Association report which concluded that West Somerset had no long-term future because it was due to run out of money within two years.

He was originally brought in by West Somerset to look at the problems caused by falling government grant levels and the steadily rising costs of administering a large rural area with a population of only 35,000.

But his conclusions, which virtually drew a line under the council's 28-year existence, have rocked the authority, suggesting a merger with another council or reduction to parish status.

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