|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Region||East of England|
|Founded||1 April 2009|
|• Type||unitary authority|
|• Leadership:||Leader & Cabinet|
|• MPs:||Alistair Burt (C)
Nadine Dorries (C)
Gavin Shuker (L)
Andrew Selous (C)
|• Total||276.3 sq mi (715.7 km2)|
|Population (2011 est.)|
|• Rank||Ranked 53rd|
|• Density||920/sq mi (360/km2)|
|Time zone||Greenwich Mean Time (UTC+0)|
|• Summer (DST)||British Summer Time (UTC+1)|
|ONS code||00KC (ONS)
Central Bedfordshire is a unitary authority in the ceremonial county of Bedfordshire, England. It was created from the merger of Bedfordshire County Council and Mid Bedfordshire and South Bedfordshire District Councils on 1 April 2009. The unitary council provides over a hundred services to a quarter of a million people.
Since 1974 Bedfordshire had been governed as a shire county, mostly under the control of Bedfordshire County Council. In 1997 it was divided into three local government districts, Bedford Borough, Mid Bedfordshire, and South Bedfordshire. Luton Borough became a unitary authority in 1997.
In 2006 the Department for Communities and Local Government considered reorganising Bedfordshire's administrative structure as part of the 2009 structural changes to local government in England. The four proposals considered were:
- Proposal 1, Abolish the three districts within the county and create a Bedfordshire County unitary authority. (Luton would remain a separate unitary authority.)
- Proposal 2, Create two unitary authorities: one based on Bedford Borough and one as Central Bedfordshire, combining Mid and South Bedfordshire Districts.
- Proposal 3, Create two unitary authorities: one a combination of Bedford Borough and Mid Beds District and the other a combination of Luton Borough and South Beds District.
- Proposal 4, Form an "enhanced two-tier" authority, with the four local councils under the control of the county council, but with different responsibilities.
On 6 March 2008 the DCLG, under Labour Party Secretary of State, Hazel Blears, decided to implement Proposal 2. This meant that from 1 April 2009 there would be three unitary authorities in Bedfordshire: Bedford, Luton and Central Bedfordshire. Bedfordshire County Council challenged this decision in the High Court but on 4 April 2008 it was announced the Judicial Review had failed and the County Council would not appeal. Subsequently, a shadow council for Central Bedfordshire was formed from all the members of Mid and South Bedfordshire councils, as well as all Bedfordshire County Council members from the Central Bedfordshire area. The inaugural meeting of the shadow council was held on 10 April 2008. A shadow Executive for the council was formed consisting of four members of each council, led by Tricia Turner (former leader of Mid Bedfordshire District).
Before the creation of Central Bedfordshire Council in 2009 the three former authorities had a total of 139 Councillors between them. As a result of the merger this was reduced to 59 Councillors in 2011 resulting in financial savings to Bedfordshire residents.
Since 2011 the Council has been led by James Jamieson with a Cabinet of five portfolio holders:
- Council Corporate Services
- Children's Social Services and Schools
- Adult Social Services, Health and Housing
- Sustainable Communities, Planning and Economic Development
- Sustainable Communities, Services, Highways and Leisure
Towns and villages
The Central Bedfordshire area includes the following towns and villages which were located in the previous Mid and South Bedfordshire districts.
- "Welcome to Central Bedfordshire Council". Centralbedfordshire.gov.uk. Retrieved 6 August 2012.
- Bedfordshire County Council – The proposal
- Communities and Local Government – Proposals for future unitary structures: Stakeholder consultation
- Bedfordshire County Council: High Court backs two unitary authorities for Bedfordshire[dead link]
- "County Council Fails in Legal Challenge To Unitary Status". Bedford.gov.uk. 1 April 2009. Retrieved 6 August 2012.
- Unitary solution confirmed for Bedfordshire – New flagship unitary councils approved for Cheshire – Corporate – Communities and Local Government[dead link]
- url=http://www.bedfordtoday.co.uk/bed-news/County-council-to-be-abolished.3850489.jp (6 March 2008). "County council to be abolished in shake-up". Bedford Today.
- http://www.bedfordtoday.co.uk/bed-news/First-steps-towards-creating-Central.3968817.jp First steps towards creating Central Beds Council – Bedford Today (10/04/08)
- "Central Bedfordshire Council: Election results by party, 4 June 2009". Centralbedfordshire.gov.uk. 4 June 2009. Retrieved 6 August 2012.
- "Election 2009 | Central Bedfordshire council". BBC News. 5 June 2009. Retrieved 6 August 2012.
- [dead link]