CABINET members at Warwick District Council have recommended making a formal bid to merge with their neighbours in Stratford and create a new South Warwickshire District Council.

The decision was taken at Thursday's meeting and followed a week of scrutiny sessions. The matter will now go before a full council meeting this evening (December 13) – to be held at the Slate, Warwick University, at 6pm. This coincides with the council meeting of their Stratford counterparts.

Leader Cllr Andrew Day (Con, Bishop’s Tachbrook) thanked officers and his fellow councillors for their work in reading and scrutinising the various reports.

He said: “We have drawn on the talents of every single member of this council in every single group. The pandemic has taught us about the power and the importance of place and local government. The impact that this council has had over the past 18 months on the day to day lives of residents, businesses and community organisations cannot be underestimated and it is that which we need to harness and distil when it comes to building – if this proceeds – a new council.”

A number of councillors spoke in favour of a merger between the two authorities, saying that residents who took part in the consultation wanted change.

Cllr Jan Matecki (Con, Budbrooke) said: “The vast majority of people who went through the questionnaire want change and as I see it, if you strip it back there are only three options for us – do nothing, continue to integrate our services or we merge. The only change within our control is for the merger.  I will be supporting this because the people want change.”

Cllr Judy Falp (Ind, Whitnash) added: “We in both councils know that we cannot carry on as we have been, our services have no flesh left on the bone. Residents recognise this and we need to change.” 

And Cllr Alan Rhead (Con, Budbrooke) said: “By having a political merger we will do better at climate change. Again on health and wellbeing, the merger will provide a far better service to our residents – and that is what I want to underline, a far better service to our residents. We need to make sure that in this debate – tonight and on Monday – that we don’t just get hung up about the finance although it is important.

“I will though end on a financial matter because without doubt, and this report sets it out quite explicitly, if we don’t have a merger then we have serious considerations to make as a result.”