WOOTTON Bassett, Cricklade and Purton will become part of a new Wiltshire unitary authority after the Government gave plans to create a centralised council the thumbs up.

The bid to have one council covering the county got the approval of Secretary of State Hazel Blears today.

Work will now start on transforming the county's five councils into one with the new council expected to be launched in August 2008.

Wiltshire County Council has said changing the current system will save Wiltshire taxpayers £18m each year by 2012 as well as providing more effective, easy-to-access services and increased opportunities for local decision making and community involvement.

"We are delighted with this decision which we believe will bring the best for the people of Wiltshire," said county council leader Jane Scott. "One council will bring simplicity, clarity and value for money - it will strip away layers of red tape and get the services and decision making closer to the people."

The One Council bid, which was spearheaded by the county council had been opposed by the county's four district councils, including North Wiltshire District Council, but Mrs Scott said she hoped all authorities could now work together for the good of the county as a whole.