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Council News Monitor is curated content pulled together each week by an automated content aggregation programme developed in-house by Boilerhouse Online Publications

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Milton Keynes buys 110 flats in Luton as Torfaen plans to acquire derelict iron works

Newcastle still hopes to land devolution deal; Cumbria to shake up public health nursing; Sheffield's social care funding crisis; Walsall to cut £86m from budget by 2020; Devon seeks government funding for road improvement; London councils ask prime minister to block Heathrow third runway; East Dunbartonshire shared services plans leads to job loss concerns .... and more

Newcastle still bidding for new devo deal - and can become 'the Great North City'

Newcastle City Council     Source: Chronicle Live

Newcastle is not going to give up on getting a new devolution deal for the North East. That’s the message from Newcastle City Council leader Nick Forbes , who outlined his hope at the authority’s annual State of the City event.   Read in full

Transformation, Brexit and the Dark at the end of the Tunnel

Sandwell Council |  Norfolk CC | LB Newham | Kirklees Council       Source: Public Service Digital

Whatever the picture in other arenas of the economy and society it seems clear that Brexit will pile still more difficulty onto local public services already stretched to breaking point. Doing things differently is no longer enough. Doing different things is the only way forward. Vicky Sargent tells it like it is.

South Tyneside Council bosses asked to close taxi licence loopholes after incidents

South Tyneside Council     Source: Shields Gazette

Council bosses in South Tyneside are being asked to close loopholes in taxi licensing laws. They will be told next week that a man who drove his car through a barrier to confront council staff after they twice refused to give him a taxi licence now has permission to drive minibuses.  Read in full

Council plans to radically shake-up of public health nursing roles across Cumbria

Cumbria County Council     Source: Nursing Times

Cumbria County Council has outlined plans for radical changes to children’s public health services, which would reduce the number of health visitors, scrap the traditional school nursing service and shut down the family nurse partnership scheme. The authority hopes to save a total of £900,000 this year and next by redesigning key health services for children and young people.   Read in full

Chaos at Bolton Council meeting as protesters storm chamber

Bolton Council     Source: This is Lancashire

There was chaos at a meeting of Bolton Council this evening as different groups of protesters stormed the council chamber. The meeting began with a demonstration outside the town hall by people against plans to cut back on children's centres in the borough.  Read in full

Sheffield facing £9m ‘social care funding crisis’

Sheffield City Council     Source: The Star

Sheffield is facing a ‘social care funding crisis’ and a £9m budget black hole. The council’s new medium-term financial strategy has revealed £9.3m has been ‘temporarily’ taken out of reserves to cover the gap in funding for this year.  Read in full

Leeds 'tent city' protest ends as housing is secured

Leeds City Council     Source: BBC News

Campaigners who set up a "tent city" to highlight the issue of homelessness in Leeds have ended an 18-day protest. The group, known as Leeds Voice for the Homeless pitched dozens of tents at four different sites. The council says 15 people already had accommodation, but another 10 have been given a place to stay.   Read in full

Carillion beats Hochtief, Sisk/Lagan and Graham JV to build Lincoln Eastern Bypass

Lincolnshire County Council     Source: Construction News

Carillion has been picked to build the Lincoln Eastern Bypass. The contractor beat three other shortlisted bidders to win the scheme: Hochtief UK; John Sisk and Lagan JV; and a John Graham and Graham Farrans JV. Lincolnshire County Council’s executive is expected to formally approve Carillion’s appointment to build the 7.5-km road on 1 November.  Read in full

City council's vehicles to go 'ultra low' in drive for clean air

Nottingham City Council     Source: Nottingham Post

A council is aiming to turn its entire fleet of cars, vans and lorries into low emission vehicles – after the city and authority were awarded "Go Ultra Low" status. Nottingham became one of four "Go Ultra Low" cities in the country earlier this year – receiving £6.1m from the government as a result.  Read in full

No service is safe as Walsall Council must cut £86 million from their budget over four years

Walsall Council     Source: Walsall Advertiser

Like "being thrown out of an aeroplane without a parachute" is how the Walsall Council leader has described the authority's "biggest ever" budget cuts as they look to save £86 million up to 2020. At a special council press conference, council leader Sean Coughlan outlined plans to save money across the whole borough, following the Government making changes to their grant entitlement.  Read in full

West Midlands Combined Authority: Will council identities survive?

West Midlands Combined Authority     Source: BBC News

The West Midlands 'super council' is taking shape and by spring will have its first elected mayor. Seven councils have signed up for more power and money from government to work together on region-wide issues like transport and housing. Will the identities of each authority survive the merger?  Read in full

Morgan Sindall makes start on £17m council depot

Central Bedfordshire Council     Source: The Construction Index

Morgan Sindall has won a £16.9m contract to build a highways and waste distribution depot for Central Bedfordshire Council. Work on the new Thorn Turn facility in Houghton Regis, Dunstable, has already begun. The contract includes the construction of a domestic waste recycling centre and a depot for the council’s highways team.  Read in full

Controversial £15m solar farm deal was 'signed off' by Labour claims Thurrock deputy leader

Thurrock Council     Source: Your Thurrock

Labour-leader, and previous Leader of the Council, Cllr John Kent, has been left red-faced after attacking the ruling Conservative administration for Thurrock Council's recently announced solar farm investment, despite the fact that the deal was signed less than a week before Labour lost their grip of the council.  Read in full

Council takes over huge block of flats in Luton to help homeless families in Milton Keynes

Milton Keynes Council     Source: Milton Keynes Citizen

An entire block of 110 apartments in Luton has been snapped up by MK Council in a bid to ease the city’s homelessness crisis. The five-storey Unity House was once offices owned by Luton Council, who sold it off to a private developer.  Read in full

Council approves combined authority plans

Portsmouth City Council     Source: LocalGov

Portsmouth City Council has agreed to be a part of the formal application to form the Solent Combined Authority. The decision to apply to the Government for the creation of a combined authority was taken at a special meeting of the council's cabinet following discussion of the proposals at a full council meeting.  Read in full

£200m bid to improve 'sub-standard' North Devon Link Road

Devon County Council     Source: Express & Echo

Devon County Council is seeking government funding for £200 million of works to upgrade the North Devon Link Road. It comes after 95 per cent of people who responded to a survey said the route needs to be improved.  Read in full

Bristol Is Open strikes double deal for smart city tech

Bristol City Council     Source: UKAuthority

The Bristol Is Open programme has gathered more steam with agreements with Nokia and Zeetta Networks to work on networking technologies to support its smart city initiatives. The joint venture between the city council and the University of Bristol has formed a partnership with Nokia to test new capabilities, and signed up to use Zeetta’s NetOS system to manage its infrastructure.  Read in full

Richmond, Merton, Kingston and Croydon councils write to Prime Minister in bid to stop Heathrow third runway

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames     Source: Croydon Guardian

Richmond, Merton, Kingston and Croydon councils have written to Prime Minister Theresa May in a bid to stop Heathrow expansion. It has been widely speculated the Government will back the plans in the next two weeks, despite David Cameron, Mrs May’s predecessor, pledging ‘no ifs, no buts’ there would be no third runway.  Read in full

Councillors clash over £356m Harrow regeneration project

Ealing Council     Source: Ealing Times

An ambitious regeneration programme to “build a better Harrow” has been put in motion by the council despite divisions between its two main political alliances. Voted through at a meeting of the full council on September 22 amid fierce opposition from Conservative councillors, £356 million of funding for the ten-year blueprint to “transform the borough” has now been unlocked and the project given the go-ahead.  Read in full

Fears council jobs may be lost if shared services plan goes ahead

East Dunbartonshire Council     Source: Kirkintilloch Herald

East Dunbartonshire Council’s plans to share services with two other local authorities have come under fire. The proposal to share services with Inverclyde and West Dunbartonshire councils took a big step forward last week with the creation of a special committee. But union officials are concerned about the possibility of job losses.  Read in full

Glasgow City Council wants action to 'mitigate Brexit impact'

Glasgow City Council     Source: BBC News

Scotland's largest council has said the greater Glasgow area will suffer unless there is specific government action to mitigate the effects of Brexit. A new report from Glasgow City Council sets out challenges the area will face after the referendum result in favour of the UK leaving the European Union.  Read in full

Torfaen council £3.7 million plan to buy The British derelict iron works

Torfaen County Borough Council     Source: Free Press

In what has been described as a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity", Torfaen council is set to submit a £3.7 million proposal to buy South East Wales' largest derelict industrial site, The British. The Welsh Government has confirmed it will provide a £1.7 million re-greening package as part of the purchase - which could spell the end of generations of opencast mining uncertainty for the 1,300 acre site.  Read in full

Gwynedd holiday home council tax double plan put to the people

Gwynedd Council     Source: Daily Post

The people of Gwynedd are being asked whether holiday and second home owners should pay up to double for their council tax. The cash-strapped council said any extra money raised could be used to help meet local housing needs and protect local services.  Read in full

Belfast council ditches free parking at Christmas after Translink plea

Belfast City Council     Source: Belfast Telegraph

Belfast City Council has voted to end free car parking for shoppers in the run up to Christmas after a plea from Translink. Last year the council offered some 1,500 free parking spaces at its sites after 6pm through the week and over weekends.  Read in full

£18,000 Council boundary signs are 'impossible to read'

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council     Source: Impartial Reporter

The new Fermanagh and Omagh District Council boundary signs “are literally impossible to read.” Councillors have been inundated with complaints about the legibility of the text, with one constituent saying the signs “look like they were done in a printing shop on plywood.”  Read in full

And finally…

Grass ‘grows faster in south of West Norfolk than elsewhere’, says council report

Norfolk County Council     Source: Lynn News

Grass tends to grow quicker in southern parts of West Norfolk, because its weather is warmer and wetter than the rest of the borough, a new report has claimed. The document said: “It is universally recognised that the grass in Downham Market grows at a quicker rate than that of King’s Lynn or Hunstanton. It appears that this is largely due to the favourable grass growing conditions that are in that area.”  Read in full

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