Go it alone to end confusion

IPSWICH is today facing one of the most pivotal days in the town's recent history as its bid for unitary status is handed in to the government.For Ipswich residents this would mean the borough taking over all services in the town.

IPSWICH is today facing one of the most pivotal days in the town's recent history as its bid for unitary status is handed in to the government.

For Ipswich residents this would mean the borough taking over all services in the town.

But it would have other effects, Suffolk Coastal, Mid Suffolk, Babergh and the other parts of Suffolk would retain their links with the county council.

Suffolk county council would be smaller but that doesn't it would any less than quality now because it a good council - and without having to worry about urban Ipswich it would be able to concentrate on what it does best, looking after the rural areas.

From where we sit there is a compelling argument for Ipswich to be in charge of its own destiny . . . and eventually creating a Greater Ipswich and Felixstowe authority.

And there's an equally compelling argument for the rest of Suffolk to be one council - single-tier councils mean less confusion for voters. Everyone knows exactly who provides their services.

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The irony is that Ipswich and Suffolk both have spanking new offices facing other - and an undeclared war in Ipswich village next to Portman Road.

But if they were not in competition, they could link up, co-operate. As it is there is bitching from both sides about the other - and relations are distinctly frosty.

Ipswich has a bid which must succeed if the town is to achieve its full potential during the 21st century.

Ipswich is a growing urban area with all the challenges and problems faced by small and medium-sized cities.

In local government terms it can no longer be seen as a small market town serving the needs of a rural hinterland.

Ipswich is a community in its own right - but its boundaries need looking at in the future. Kesgrave and Pinewood should certainly be included. But that is for future years - expansion is not on the agenda at present.

No one is denying that the town has prospered over the last few years. It has always been at the centre of the county's life.

However at present it has to compete with rural interests when it comes to the allocation of its most important local government services.

People living on Whitton or Gainsborough have very different pressures on their lives than those living in Kersey or Framlingham.

Currently Ipswich issues are judged by councillors from Lowestoft and Bury St Edmunds for example - the controversy over the future of fire stations in the town.

Local unitary councils give local accountability

Is a Lowestoft councillor bothered about the views of Chantry residents? Would they ever be worried about a comment from The Evening Star … we don't even circulate in Lowestoft.

But Ipswich councillors take note of local views and opinion

Ipswich must be able to make its own decisions on how we educate our children.

The town must be allowed to care for its elderly and vulnerable people in a way that is appropriate for a large urban centre - not be an add-on to a rural council.

So our message to Communities' Secretary Ruth Kelly today, as the application is handed to her department, is clear - set Ipswich free and allow the town to take its rightful place as one of the top urban centres in the country. And the rest should be run by a single Suffolk council.

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