Felixstowe urged to maintain independent

NO merger with Ipswich - that's the view of Felixstowe people over the proposed changes to local government.

NO merger with Ipswich - that's the view of Felixstowe people over the proposed changes to local government.

Town councillors say their research among residents shows there is little support for the proposals to create a North Haven council comprising Ipswich, the seaside town and its peninsula, Martlesham and Kesgrave.

The option - along with a Rural Suffolk unitary authority, minus Lowestoft - is favoured by the Boundary Committee for England.

However Members of Felixstowe Town Council do not like any of the suggestions put forward, and some councillors would prefer the current two-tier system to carry on, with authorities working together more and increased powers for town and parish councils.

Chris Slemming, of the town council boundary working party, said: We wrote to the North Haven Board shortly after it was established to say that there was no significant level of support here for the Felixstowe and Ipswich option.

“Nothing has emerged in Felixstowe since then to change this perception and, indeed it has been reinforced.

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“Councillors have individually sought the views of a wide cross section of Felixstowe residents. They have found very little appetite for changes to the current arrangements.

“The questions widely asked are 'Why is a change necessary?' and 'Will it change anything for the better?' The most wide received comment is 'No merger with Ipswich!'”

Councillors are concerned at how much representation Felixstowe would get on an Ipswich-based council and whether the resort's issues would be properly dealt with.

Former mayor Andy Smith said much of the savings being suggested by the unitary programme were already being carried out by existing councils as part of their forward plans.

“The savings suggested are a tiny fraction of the total budget for local government - a lot of these savings are already being made without the need for all this upheaval,” he said.

Should Felixstowe and Ipswich be merged? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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