Javid gives go-ahead to Suffolk council mergers

13 Feb 18

Communities secretary Sajid Javid has confirmed plans to condense four Suffolk councils into two new authorities.

Following a proposal made in November 2017, Javid gave the green light to the plans in a written statement to Parliament last week.

The decision means that Suffolk Coastal and Waveney district councils will combine to form East Suffolk Council.

Also, Forest Heath District Council and St Edmundsbury Borough council will merge as one district council named West Suffolk.

Javid said: “I am satisfied that both new district councils are likely to improve local government and service delivery in their areas, command a good deal of local support, and that each council area is a credible geography.”

Parliament will now vote on the legislation and, providing it passes, the new councils will be established on 1 April 2019 with the first elections to the councils to take place on 2 May 2019.

The decision was praised by councillors in the affected area.

Ray Herring of Suffolk Coastal and Mark Bee of Waveney District Council, said in a joint statement: “[The merger] will enable us to build on a decade of co-operation to give greater value for money, while continuing to improve service delivery.”

Similarly, St Edmundsbury Borough Council leader John Griffiths said: “Not only can we continue to deliver high quality services but we can better champion our area, drive the local economy, jobs and prosperity in West Suffolk while tackling the challenges facing all public services.”

The councils have shared a chief executive since 2008 and, between 2010 and 2016 merged all their departments.

Herring and Bee suggested that sharing management and services had “made over £18m in efficiency savings and halved our joint workforce, while still investing in our communities”.

PF’s recent feature on council mergers examined the Suffolk proposals

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