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Plans for a new single council for East Kent

Ashford, Canterbury, Dover, Shepway and Thanet councils looked into the feasibility of establishing a new single council for East Kent.

Councillors from all five authorities agreed in July 2016  to explore the advantages and disadvantages of a merger and to examine how a new single council could operate.

The purpose of a potential merger was set out in a 'Statement of Intent' agreed by all the councils.

As a result, work has been progressing on a 'Business Case' which the councils commissioned the Local Government Association and Local Partnerships to prepare.

Work on the Business Case is now complete.

Five become four

On the basis of the findings from a five way Business Case:

  • Ashford Borough Council has announced it no longer intends to be involved in the creation of a single council, but remains strongly committed to working closely with any future new council.
  • The councils of Canterbury, Dover, Shepway and Thanet are to consider a four-way Business Case.

If this is approved, it would see the abolition of the existing local government district areas and the creation of a new single East Kent council, which would be the largest of its kind in the country.

pdf icon A business case for the potential creation of a single council from the five East Kent districts [1Mb]

pdf icon A business case for the potential creation of a single new council from the four East Kent 'coastal' districts [1Mb]

Council meetings 22 March - plans now on hold 

Meetings were held at Canterbury, Dover, Shepway and Thanet councils on Wednesday 22 March to consider the findings of the four way Business Case.

Councillors were asked to decide whether to progress to the next stage of public consultation, to ask local people for their views.

Dover and Thanet councils voted to progress, however Shepway District Council voted not to proceed.

Canterbury's Policy and Resources Committee voted to recommend to Full Council that consultation should go ahead, but just as the Full Council meeting started, news of Shepway's decision came through. As a result, Canterbury did not take a vote on consultation, but instead agreed to continue discussions to explore alternatives.

As approval was required from all four councils to progress, plans for a single council will now be put on hold.

The councils will now take time to consider the alternative options to identify a suitable way forward.