Picture Past: Lock, stock and a unitary authority
PUBLISHED: 11:00 08 February 2020
The Government accepted recommendations from a report on local government reform that included merging Weston and other North Somerset areas into a Bristol and Bath authority that would provide services for more than 1 million people.
There would still be a Somerset authority, which would also include the Sherbourne district of Dorset, but it would have a population of only 360,000.
The government deferred a decision on proposals that there should be English Provinces, including one for the South West.
It was proposed to introduce legislation for the reforms in 1971-72, with the election of councillors for the new authorities in 1973.
However, many districts were opposed to the changes, including Somerset Council and Weston Borough Council, which said a combined Bath and Bristol Unitary authority would be too big and lack the cohesion to form a democratic unit.
■ Weston MP Jerry Wiggin told the House of Commons of the unfortunate position Weston was in, having the highest unemployment figures since the war being and unable to get Government help to bring more industry to the area.
While acknowledging the figures included retired older people, he pointed out they were entitled to work if they wished.
He also commented that the high cost of travelling was making it unattractive economically for people to accept work some distance from their homes.
■ A man was jailed for four years for shooting his wife.
The incident at a home in Milton was described by the defence as the breaking point in a three-month marriage after his 16-year-old wife had been mocking and taunting him and flirting with other men at a party.
The 24-year-old man shot his wife in the back with a shotgun while she was washing glasses the day after the party.
The blast left a 14-inch wound in her back, and, for a time, she was partially paralysed.
On leaving hospital, she went to live with her mother in Bristol.
In court, the man admitted to attempting to murder his wife and being in possession of a firearm with the intent to endanger life.
Summing up, the judge described the marriage as a 'tragedy between two immature people'.
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