On 1 April 2009, certain local authorities are to be wound up and dissolved and their functions, assets and liabilities transferred to new unitary councils. These are district councils in Cornwall, Durham, Northumberland, Shropshire and Wiltshire and district and county councils in Cheshire. The transfers to the new unitary councils are implemented by orders that came into force on 26 February 2008. The orders establish an Implementation Executive to coordinate implementation. The implementation process is governed by a direction made under section 24 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007.

These directions are intended to set out the arrangements until dissolution that best use is made of public money and that effective council services are maintained. There is additional guidance accompanying the directions. They prevent the affected local authorities from entering into certain transactions without getting prior approval and such transactions include disposals of land by the council, contracts for the disposal of land by the council and options to acquire land by the council.

If you are entering into a contract with one of the affected councils or advising in connection with an affected transaction, then you must ensure that you have carried out the necessary checks in case a consent is required. A record of the consent will also need to be held with the title documents and other transaction documents.

The guidance note on control of disposals, contracts and reserves for Cheshire can be found here.