Green light for Ipswich to rule itself

IPSWICH today hit the jackpot - with Prime Minister Gordon Brown giving its people the right to rule on their own affairs from 2009.In a dramatic announcement in Whitehall, the Minister for Local Government.

IPSWICH today hit the jackpot - with Prime Minister Gordon Brown giving its people the right to rule on their own affairs from 2009.

In a dramatic announcement in Whitehall, the Minister for Local Government. John Healey, gave Ipswich Borough Council the go-ahead for unitary status.

The news signals the end of two-tier council status for Suffolk's county town and is a hammer blow for Suffolk County Council which fought a bitter rearguard action to stop the break up.

The county council now faces breaking up major departments such as social care, housing and libraries and hand over responsibility for them within Ipswich's boundaries to the new unitary council, which will take office in 2009.


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Ipswich will be confirmed as one of up to ten councils up and down England getting the go-ahead to rule its own destiny - and confirms its positions as a member of the Premiership elite of local authorities. The decision was rubber-stamped by Number 10 Downing Street earlier this week.

As news of the tumultuous decision spread across the floor of IBC's Grafton House headquarters there was cheering at the decision. But across the road at Suffolk County Council's Grafton House headquarters there was despondency.

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News of Ipswich's success was greeted with quiet delight by council chief executive Jim Hehir, who masterminded a stunning bid which captured the spirit of growth and change which is the hall mark of the emerging county town.

In Norfolk, Norwich's bid for unitary status was also successful but the boundaries of the new authority are still to be determined by the Boundary Committee for England, meaning it is likely to be a year behind Ipswich in coming in to being.

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