No final decision on authority reform

YET another stage in the process to reform local government in East Anglia was due today - but it is NOT the final decision day for the future of authorities.

YET another stage in the process to reform local government in East Anglia was due today - but it is NOT the final decision day for the future of authorities.

The Boundary Committee has proposed the abolition of Suffolk County Council and seven district authorities.

It has said it wants to create two unitary authorities - Ipswich-Felixstowe, covering the two towns and their surrounding parishes and Suffolk Rural, responsible for an area stretching from Sudbury and Haverhill to Woodbridge and Southwold.

Under the plans Lowestoft would be absorbed into a single Norfolk unitary.

Another option it agreed to consider was having a single unitary council covering all Suffolk - except Lowestoft.

However many districts have oppposed these options and called for a other options to be on the table.

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The county council and Mid Suffolk district want a single Suffolk county unitary which would also include Lowestoft.

Another counter proposal has been lodged by Waveney, St Edmundsbury and Forest Heath districts, seeking the division on the county into three unitaries - Greater Ipswich, West Suffolk and East Suffolk.

Today the government is due to announce whether any of these other options will be considered before Secretary of State Hazel Blears makes her final decision in July.

There will be another two months of public consultation before any final decisions are taken.

If the Government eventually accepts a unitary solution the earliest date any new authorities could be operational is April 2011.

The Conservatives have pledged they will abort the process if they win the next General Election.

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