Re: Response to Cllr Roger Colomb’s letter in the Free Press on Nov. 7 I normally avoid responding to comments from district council colleagues as I don’t think it helps improve the public’s perception of local politicians. However, given the personal attack by Cllr Roger Colomb on myself in your letters, I think this time I must.

Cllr Colomb attacks the findings of the independent study of unitary options by local businesses, attacks the county council and then sees the study as part of my ‘misguided ambition’.

It is important to remember that this was an independent study carried by a very reputable firm on behalf of local businesses, not myself.

The study looked at four different options, including the one put forward by Cllr Colomb, and based on publically-available information gave a view on what savings would be available and what the advantages and disadvantages would be of each. That the largest savings are potentially available from eliminating five separate HR departments, finance departments, legal teams etc. etc. plus fewer councillors, should come as no surprise but it is of course only one factor and Cllr Colomb is right to say that other options are possible albeit at a higher cost to council tax payers.

He then criticises the county council on a number of points such as the condition of the roads and grass cutting. Is the county council perfect?

Has it always done everything totally efficiently? Of course not, show me any organisation that has, including district councils. I’m not sure how much Cllr Colomb actually knows of the services that the county has to deliver but those such as children’s services, new school places, care for the elderly, road maintenance are significantly higher cost and more subject to rapidly rising demand than those provided by our district colleagues. Nor do we receive the large proportion of New Homes Bonus for each new house granted planning permission that our District colleagues receive. The result is that we are struggling to provide even basic services and are having to take some really tough and difficult decisions to balance the books. Some of these are unpopular, I understand that.

Lastly, the idea that the business study is some plot by myself to ‘cling to an empire’ is ludicrous beyond belief. Given that there are about four district councillors to every county councillor it is likely that any new unitary council would be comprised predominately of ex district councillors, probably including Cllr Colomb. I suspect Cllr Colomb would be delighted to know that I would have to compete with the large number of district councillors who cover my own electoral area in a selection process for any new council!

I really hope that we can get away from this sort of silly personal abuse and denigration of other councils. All of us, whether county or district councillors should only be focused on ensuring the very best services at the very lowest cost for our residents. We should put aside old history and jealousies and work together to deliver what is best for our county and those we serve. – Martin Tett, Leader, Buckinghamshire County Council