Avon Guide

by Internetp@icloud.com on 04-16-2017 in England County Guide

Avon Guide

Avon /ˈeɪvən/ was, from 1974 to 1996, a non-metropolitan and ceremonial county in the west of England. The county was named after the River Avon, which runs through the area. It was formed from parts of the historic counties of Gloucestershire and Somerset, together with the City of Bristol. In 1996, the county was abolished and the area split between four new unitary authorities: Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire. The Avon name is still used for some purposes. The area had a population of approximately 1.08 million people in 2009.[4] The port of Bristol lies close to the mouth of the River Avon which formed the historic boundary between Gloucestershire and Somerset. In 1373 a charter constituted the area as the County of the Town of Bristol, although it continued to fall within the jurisdiction of the two counties for some purposes.[5] The appointment of a boundaries commission in 1887 led to a campaign for the creation of a county of Greater Bristol. The commissioners, while recommending that Bristol should be "neither in the county of Gloucester nor of Somerset for any purpose whatsoever", did not extend the city's boundaries.[6] The commission's timidity was attacked by the Bristol Mercury and Daily Post, who accused them of using the "crude method of the Procrustean bed".[7] The newspaper went on to attack Charles Ritchie, the President of the Local Government Board, and the Conservative government: Everyone who considered the question on its merits was convinced of the justice of the demand for a Greater Bristol, but... the interests of the Tory party were put before every other consideration and we do not think there is any endeavour to conceal the fact.[8] Under the Local Government Act 1888 Bristol was constituted a county borough, exercising the powers of both a county and city council. The city was extended to take in some Gloucestershire suburbs in 1898 and 1904.[9] The Local Government Boundary Commission appointed in 1945 recommended the creation of a "one-tier county" of Bristol based on the existing county borough, but the report was not acted upon.[10] The next proposals for local government reform in the area were made in 1968, when the Redcliffe-Maud Commission made its report. The commission recommended dividing England into unitary areas. One of these was a new Bristol and Bath Area which would have included a wide swathe of countryside surrounding the two cities, extending into Wiltshire and as far as Frome in Somerset.[11] Following a change of government at the 1970 general election, a two-tier system of counties and districts was proposed instead of unitary authorities. In a white paper published in 1971 one of these counties "Area 26" or "Bristol County", was based on the commission's Bristol and Bath area, but lacked the areas of Wiltshire.[12] The proposals were opposed by Somerset County Council, and this led to the setting up of a "Save Our Somerset" campaign.[13] By the time the Local Government Bill was introduced to Parliament, the county had been named "Avon".[14] The boundaries of the new county were cut back during the passage of Local Government Bill through Parliament.[15] The Local Government Act 1972 received the Royal Assent on 26 October 1972.

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