Five Bucks councils merged into one a year ago today.

April 1, 2020, saw the launch of the new Buckinghamshire Council, the unitary authority that replaced the four district councils and one county council.

A year ago today, Wycombe, South Bucks, Chiltern and Aylesbury Vale and Buckinghamshire County Council officially ceased to exist.

Every service that was carried out by the county and district councils, passed over to the new unitary authority, with a spokesman saying one council in the entire county would be “more efficient” and save cash for the taxpayer.

The unitary process prompted calls from some areas of the county to have their own town council – including High Wycombe.

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Buckinghamshire Council announced 16 community boards would be set up in a bid to bring together councillors and the community to help solve local issues.

The argument for a single unitary council that looks after all services for Bucks residents was reignited in 2016 when outgoing county council chief executive Chris Williams called for “wholesale shake-up” of the “prehistoric” two-tier local government system.

Bucks Free Press: PICTURED: Buckinghamshire CouncilPICTURED: Buckinghamshire Council

Nine years before that, he had tried to implement the changes, but at the “eleventh hour”, councillors decided not to back the plans.

Bucks County Council, which was in favour of one council replacing all five, went head-to-head with the four district councils – who thought two councils, one for the south of the county and one for the north was the better idea – with both sides writing detailed proposals to the government about why their preferred option should be chosen.

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On November 1, 2018, the Secretary of State for Housing Communities and Local Government picked a side – and announced a single unitary authority for Buckinghamshire.

Wycombe, Chiltern and South Bucks decided to launch a legal challenge against the decision, saying they were “disappointed” with the government’s view.

That legal challenge was declined by a judge.