District and borough councils in Hertfordshire could be scrapped and residents across the county could be governed by one ‘super’ council.

Government plans are being drawn up that could see several counties across the country turn into one unitary authority.

And the Conservative-controlled Hertfordshire County Council has not denied that the county could become a unitary authority, and told us it is “considering how to best serve the needs of its residents”.

It comes after the Housing Minister, Simon Clarke, announced the government would be putting forward proposals this Autumn calling for more unitary authorities as part of “transformative plans for economic recovery and renewal”.

Currently Hertfordshire runs on a two-tier basis, with the county split into district and borough councils and one county council.

The ten district and borough councils in Hertfordshire are responsible for planning and parks as well as other services like bin collections and leisure.

Whereas the county council makes decisions on things like roads, education, and care.

Merging the councils together would inevitably merge all of the services together but it remains to be seen exactly how a unitary authority in Hertfordshire may work.

Banbury Cake:

Watford, Hertsmere and Three Rivers, and St Albans are among areas which would lose their council under a unitary authority

A spokesperson from the county council said: “The council values the importance of strong working relationships and collaboration across the whole public sector in Hertfordshire.

"The environment in which all councils will find themselves in as we recover from the pandemic requires us to explore how we best organise ourselves.

“We must continue to best serve the needs of our residents in the future and provide the most effective support for the county’s economic recovery. 

“We are just at the start of those considerations and look forward to working with all councils in Hertfordshire to determine our best way forward.”

Watford’s mayor said he would oppose any proposal for a unitary authority and said it was the “wrong time” to consider such change during a full Watford Borough Council meeting this week.

He added: “I do not think it is in our residents’ best interests to have one council in Hertford serving 1.2 million people.

“It’s a vast county of urban and rural, huge geographically, a huge population. And I don’t think one council with 1.2million people would serve our residents well.”

Hertfordshire is not the only county that could become unitary.

Surrey Live reports that Surrey County Council is considering a bid to scrap its 11 district and borough councils, while the BBC reported that Somerset County Council wants to replace five local authorities - including itself - with one single council

The BBC added Somerset County Council wants to "put an end to confusion for residents, give greater powers to local communities and free up millions of pounds".

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Housing, Communities, and Local Government has said: “We have set out a clear commitment to level up all areas of the country by empowering our regions through devolving money, resources and control away from Westminster.

“We are considering a range of options and will set out our detailed plans in the White Paper that will be published this Autumn.”