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Mid Suffolk/Babergh: Leader proposes creating joint council headquarters by A14

PUBLISHED: 10:00 06 February 2014

Babergh District Council, Corks Lane, Hadleigh.

Babergh District Council, Corks Lane, Hadleigh.

Archant

The leader of a council has called for it to leave its headquarters to move to a new location by the A14 in partnership with another authority as it looks to save millions of pounds a year.

Mid Suffolk District Council in Needham Market.Mid Suffolk District Council in Needham Market.

Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils could be set to move to a new single headquarters with several satellite offices set up across the two areas.

That is the view of Jennie Jenkins, leader of Babergh, as the authorities undertake a review into the future of their two main offices.

The leader of Mid Suffolk, Derrick Haley, said he would have “no objection” to the proposal and backed Mrs Jenkins’ view that the smaller offices would be needed.

Already the councils share the same management team and provide joined services but they maintain separate offices: Babergh in Hadleigh and Mid Suffolk in Needham Market.

Mrs Jenkins said: “It’s my personal view but I do not think it will be at Babergh or at Mid Suffolk, in Needham Market - it will be somewhere in between. We have got to be open, we need to look at everything.

“It’s got to be viable for all of us because time is spent by people travelling between the two offices. I would like to think if we do it halfway it would be somewhere on the A14 corridor - halfway between the two offices.”

A village like Sproughton could be considered as it is next to the A14 and around eight miles away from Hadleigh and Needham Market.

In 2011 people voted against the authorities merging but since then millions of pounds have been wiped from the councils’ budgets because of Government cuts to the Department for Communities and Local Government.

The cost of running the Hadleigh and Needham Market offices is more than £2million a year.

Mr Haley said both councils had “excess offices” within their main sites and stressed the importance of public access and value for money.

“It’s a question of access and the A14 is great because it’s got the access,” he said.

“Provided we have other places (satellite offices), it could work. We would need other offices; we could not just have a central headquarters, no way, that’s not acceptable. We need the (satellite offices) in Sudbury, Hadleigh, Stowmarket. Then we would need something at the top of Mid Suffolk, like the Eye area because it’s quite rural up there.”

Both leaders stressed that no final decision had been made but wanted progress before the next district elections in 2015.

The satellite offices could operate in town halls or libraries providing council staff with the ability to “hot desk”.

7 comments

  • Why keep the district councils? They are no use to local democracy as they are loyal only to the Tory party, County council could take over over, if there is anything left to take over.

    Report this comment

    Blackeye

    Thursday, February 6, 2014

  • I can already hear the rumblings from the Hadleigh residents. The current Babergh headquarters site is big enough for yet another care home in the town.

    Report this comment

    The original Victor Meldrew

    Thursday, February 6, 2014

  • Does Mr Haley know that his council closed their Eye offica a few years ago? I believe it is still standing empty.

    Report this comment

    Blackeye

    Thursday, February 6, 2014

  • It makes sense to have a single office building. You would also need these local contact offices although most contract with councils now is by phone or Internet It would seem best to make use of the local Parish or town council buildings as all you really need is a contact centre for personal visits Depending on demand I would doubt it would need more than one or two people in the local offices.

    Report this comment

    BobE

    Friday, February 7, 2014

  • TERENCE MANNING

    Thursday, February 6, 2014

  • where is the saving coming from ,[a new central office and several smaller offices .it will be cheaper to leave things as they are .think of all the workers who travell to london etc every day.

    Report this comment

    TERENCE MANNING

    Thursday, February 6, 2014

  • We,yes the voters went and said we were against joining up with babergh so what was the point in asking us, some one from the council please answer,

    Report this comment

    pandy

    Thursday, February 6, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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