MONEY-SAVING plans for one chief executive to run Colchester and Braintree councils have been shelved.

After six months of talks, bosses have failed to find enough common ground to agree a power-share.

A summit attended by about 80 of the authorities’ 120 councillors found not enough of them agreed with the the idea.

The councils have agreed to continue working on sharing officers and services in the future.

Colchester Council leader Anne Turrell said the power-share could be considered again, possibly when one of the chief executives, Adrian Pritchard or Allan Reid, moves or retires.

She said there had been concerns over “sovereignty”, especially as Braintree is run by Conservatives and Colchester by an alliance of Lib Dem, Labour and independent councillors. Gerard Oxford, leader of Colchester Council’s Highwoods Independent Group, said he favoured the proposals.

He said: “We didn’t want to get into a situation where you have one chief executive delivering one policy in one area and coming to Colchester and having to deliver something different.” Colchester Conservative councillor Dennis Willetts said if Colchester only needed a chief executive for half a week they should pay one to work half a week.

He said: “I don’t think it would work. Each authority is better off with their own chief.”

Colchester Lib Dem councillor Martin Goss claimed there were too many directors and chief executives earning an awful lot for doing very little.

He said: “I think Colchester’s chief executive does a marvellous job, but I would happily share him with other authorities.”

Conservative group leader Kevin Bentley favoured the proposals.

James Abbott, leader of the Green Party on Braintree Council, said: “There are already working relationships between Colchester and Braintree on parking.

“Braintree has worked with Uttlesford on recycling.

“These things can work. But I think with the shared chief executive it was an ambitious proposal.”

Phil Barlow, leader of the Labour group on Braintree Council, said: “We don’t think now is a good time to take out, in effect, one chief executive between two authorities.”