County bid under fire from districts

SUFFOLK'S bid for a single authority suffered a hammer blow today - with the four biggest district authorities backing an alternative proposal for the shake-up of local government.

SUFFOLK'S bid for a single authority suffered a hammer blow today - with the four biggest district authorities backing an alternative proposal for the shake-up of local government.

A joint submission has been put forward suggesting an East Suffolk authority be set up, which would allow a similar council for the west and greater Ipswich to run its own affairs.

Decisions could be made within months on the final solution with less and less people in favour of the county council - which has just appointed a new £220,000-a-year chief executive - running Suffolk.

Ipswich and St Edmundsbury are fully behind the new plan submitted to the Boundary Commission by Suffolk Coastal and Waveney.


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It would create an East Suffolk of Suffolk Coastal and Waveney plus part of Mid Suffolk and Babergh, which the authorities say would unite communities with shared life-styles and goals with one council providing all the key services to around 250,000 residents.

“Maintaining and improving the quality of life of East Suffolk will be the main goal of the new unitary council which is the only structure that can deliver the better local services and even better value for money that our residents expect and demand,” said Suffolk Coastal leader Ray Herring.

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“Who are in a better position to understand and positively address the challenges facing East Suffolk than the people who live there?

“We are committed to giving them a real local voice in the decisions and services that affect them.

“East Suffolk is unique, and we want to build on what makes it such a special place and unites its communities to deliver a truly local, listening council, that is geared to meeting the needs and priorities of our people.

“Ours would be a council small enough to be local and efficient, big enough to be powerful on a regional and national stage.”

The submission anticipates an innovative “virtual council” that will move around its communities, with a network of offices rather than one remote central headquarters.

A network of area committees would work alongside towns and parishes to help deliver decisions and services on a local basis.

Mr Herring said the submission supported the strong views from Kesgrave and surrounding parishes against any possible link up with Ipswich.

“We are in the position to know what our communities want and think, and we intend to involve them fully to give them a real say in the way their local services are delivered,” he said.

“We do not think that this sense of shared experience, of real involvement, or of a united community could ever be met by a new council attempting to serve over 600,000 people.”

Would you support and East Suffolk council? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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