The borough council in Broxtowe has officially called on the county council to drop its currently-suspended plan to create one super council for the whole of Nottinghamshire.
The plan would have seen all borough and district councils – and the county council – scrapped, and a brand new authority set up for the whole of Nottinghamshire, excluding the city.
Supporters, including the Conservative-controlled Nottinghamshire County Council, hoped this would help save around £27 million a year, at a time when council finances are under considerable pressure.
But critics feared it would be costly to set up, and would remove local decision making.
Now, Broxtowe Borough Council has narrowly voted to formally oppose the dormant plan.
The borough council is now run by a Labour, Lib Dem and Independent coalition, having been controlled by the Conservatives until May’s local elections.
Until then, it had formally supported the super council plan, also known as a unitary authority.
But after a vote of the full council on Wednesday evening, the council’s position is that it opposes the change.
It is the fifth borough or district council to oppose the scheme, out of a total of seven in the county.
Government guidelines say any plans for re-organisation should: “command a good deal of local support”.
Speaking at the meeting, the leader of the council Milan Radulovic said: “We call on Nottinghamshire County Council to formally and finally withdraw any structure reform for local government.
“It has been unsettling, costly and an unwelcome distraction.
“There is no appetite whatsoever among national politicians to enter yet another local government reorganisation.
“The cost is horrendous. We would like to put this to bed once and for all.”
Councillor Richard Jackson is the leader of the Conservatives at Broxtowe Borough Council. He is also a county councillor, and supports the reorganisation plan.
He said: “I don’t think this has been unsettling, not for the borough and not for the county.
“I don’t think it’s been unnecessarily costly, the report which has been commissioned which was put together by Deloitte did cost £126,000, which is a lot of money, but it pointed to annual savings of £27 million a year.
“But it’s on hold, it’s not going anywhere, so it’s not relevant to discuss it here.
“This is a mischief motion, and we will be abstaining.”
Councillor Stephen Carr is the leader of the Liberal Democrats, and said staff and officers at the borough council had been ‘demoralised’ by the plans to scrap the council.
He asked Councillor Jackson: “How many members of staff did you speak to about the effect of what you were trying to do at County Hall was having on their morale? I would hazard a guess that it was less than one.”
In total, 22 councillors voted to support the motion, one against, and there were 19 abstentions.