Big day for unitary bid

IPSWICH'S bid for home rule will today be discussed by authorities on both sides of Russell Road in the town - but they are likely to arrive at very different conclusions.

IPSWICH'S bid for home rule will today be discussed by authorities on both sides of Russell Road in the town - but they are likely to arrive at very different conclusions.

Ipswich Council's executive is due to meet in Grafton House to discuss the success in getting the unitary status bid shortlisted.

And just hours earlier Suffolk County Council's cabinet will have discussed the bid at its meeting across the road in Endeavour House.

The county has already rejected the bid, claiming it cost county taxpayers money and would lead to many roles being duplicated.

The borough is enthusiastically pressing ahead with the bid, which it says will make for more efficient local government in the town - without costing any more money.

The government is now consulting with individuals and organisations until the end of June - and a final decision on whether Ipswich will be granted unitary status will be made in July.

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While the borough is promoting its bid, the county has already come out strongly against it - chief executive Mike More wrote to all employees last week saying that a team of officers was working on a critique of the bid.

An emergency paper has been prepared for today's cabinet meeting which ranks the Ipswich bid against those of all the other competing councils.

It says the borough is joint 11th out of the 16 bids - although across the road Ipswich council officials point out that its bid has met all the government's criteria. The borough is expecting to send an observer to the county's cabinet meeting.

The borough's executive will be given a verbal update on the bid by chief executive James Hehir - although he does not have any new developments to report since last week's announcement.

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