HOUSEHOLDS in Somerset will start receiving ballot papers this week for a 'local poll' over the future of local government in the county.

The poll was agreed by all four of Somerset's district councils - Sedgemoor, Somerset West and Taunton, Mendip and South Somerset - at meetings on Friday, April 30.

Voters are being asked to choose between the two options being considered by Government to replace the existing five councils – Somerset County Council and the four districts.

The options are:

a. One council for Somerset (One Somerset – the plan for a single council proposed by Somerset County Council)

b. Two councils for Somerset: Eastern Somerset and Western Somerset (Stronger Somerset - the plan for two councils for Somerset – an Eastern and a Western Somerset council – proposed by Somerset West and Taunton Council and the other district councils).

The poll is being independently run and verified by Civica Electoral Services on behalf of the four district councils.

The ballot papers will be accompanied by two information leaflets – one on each proposal.

Councillor Duncan McGinty, leader of Sedgemoor District Council urged people to take part to let people know how Somerset feels about the changes.

“The reorganisation of local government affects everyone," he said.

"It will have a profound impact on local services, individual and community prospects, local representation and health and wellbeing across the county.

“Local people must be allowed to have the opportunity to have their say clearly and unambiguously. A properly organised, independently-run public vote is the best way to ensure that happens.

“I urge everyone to use their vote, whichever option they prefer.

“The people’s choice must be respected.”

The leaders of the district councils have written to the Secretary of State to inform him of the poll and its dates and ask that the result of the poll be properly considered as part of the decision-making process on the future of local government in Somerset.

Votes must be received by 5pm on Friday, June 4.