THE cake was cut at Wyre Forest District Council as staff and politicians marked the authority's 40th birthday.

In 1972, Peter Walker, then MP for Worcester, was tasked to do a review of local Government. The review concluded the district council should be formed leading to shadow elections in 1973 to elect its councillors, with the authority starting its operations on April 1, 1974.

Current chairman and Liberal councillor Fran Oborski, who has served with the council since day one, cut the birthday cake at Wyre Forest House.

She said: "As we look back on the 40 years of Wyre Forest District Council, I am proud to recall the early days when we brought together the shared loyalties and proud traditions of Kidderminster, Stourport and Bewdley and the villages to create and share a Wyre Forest identity.

"Despite the rivalries and, for some, the disappointment of losing their independence, there was also the realisation there were things we could to together that we were not strong enough to do alone.

"A visit by Kidderminster councillors to their twin town of Husum led to the introduction of bottle bank recycling and wheelie bins. The council very soon tackled the notorious black damp condensation mould which plagued tenants on the Comberton and Habberley estates. Kidderminster town centre was successfully pedestrianised and we were an early adopter of the right to buy scheme for council tenants.

"Successful summer holiday play schemes were introduced and in the 1980s Wyre Forest Glades Leisure Centre was built and opened by HRH Diana, Princess of Wales.

"We have seen the successful transfer of our housing stock to Wyre Forest Community Housing which is now one of the district's major employers and one of the council's key partners. At long last, we have done the one thing we lacked the courage to do in the early days, we have brought most of our employees under one roof at Wyre Forest House.

"I would like to pay tribute to all councillors and staff, past and present, for their service to the communities we serve and look forward to the future."

The council's celebrations come amid some of the most challenging times and biggest changes in its history. Members must find a way to save £2 million over the next two years and in 2015, the number of councillors will be slashed from 42 to 33 and the district will hold all out elections.

Kidderminster was seen by many as having lost out through the local Government re-organisation, as it lost Kidderminster Borough Council. Residents will be given a say next year on whether they want a town council set up in a yes or no referendum.