Campaign for one council not two

IPSWICH'S battle to run all its own affairs has taken another significant step after Civic Centre chief James Hehir joined colleagues from across the country in a high-powered delegation to Whitehall.

IPSWICH'S battle to run all its own affairs has taken another significant step after Civic Centre chief James Hehir joined colleagues from across the country in a high-powered delegation to Whitehall.

Mr Hehir joined fellow chiefs from Norwich, Exeter, and Oxford to hand in the preliminary application for unitary status, meaning they would take on all local authority functions in their area.

In Ipswich that would mean the borough taking responsibility for schools, roads, social services, and trading standards from the county council, as well as handling planning, housing and waste collection.

The fire service would be run by a joint committee of county and borough councillors.

The move is backed by all the political parties at Civic Centre, and Mr Hehir was hopeful that the government would take note of grassroots opinion.

He said: “Ipswich is one of the fastest growing urban centres in the UK and we think the time is right for us to have a new council.”

Most Read

Originally the chief executives had hoped to meet cabinet minister David Miliband who was driving the reform of local government.

However he moved jobs in last week's reshuffle and new secretary of state Ruth Kelly was unable to meet them yesterday.

Officials at Ipswich are confident that the change at the top will not derail attempts by the borough to run all services in the town.

Ipswich council leader Liz Harsant said: “One council is better than two.”

County council leader Jeremy Pembroke has said his authority would prefer a reformed version of the existing two-tier system to be confirmed for the town.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter