Single status booklet row

HERE we go again!On the day after Ipswich council and their county colleagues get together to show off the new One Ipswich customer centre in the town hall, the two authorities were squaring up over the future of local government in Suffolk.

HERE we go again!

On the day after Ipswich council and their county colleagues get together to show off the new One Ipswich customer centre in the town hall, the two authorities were squaring up over the future of local government in Suffolk.

Ipswich council has published a glossy booklet putting forward the case for a unitary Ipswich - having all council services provided by a single authority rather than being split between the borough and the county.

The borough's document - backed by the three parties represented at Civic Centre - points out that only one of 13 county councillors in Ipswich is from the ruling Tory group, and that the town has no representation on the county's cabinet.

It says: “This means that the leadership of Suffolk County Council is not accountable to the people of Ipswich, the county's major urban area.”

The borough claims that most people are confused by the split between the two councils, and that the creation of a single unitary authority would be much simpler for most people.

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At the county council headquarters in Endeavour House, however, the document did not find a high approval rating.

Suffolk County Council wants an enhanced version of the current system, with closer co-operation between authorities which would nevertheless retain their independence from each other.

Council leader Jeremy Pembroke said: “It is still early days for local government review and we are talking to other authorities.

“We are looking to work more closely, but with an enhanced two-tier system. We don't see the need for changing the overall structure.”

However this view is not supported by the only Conservative county councillor in Ipswich.

Russell Harsant is the husband of Ipswich council leader Liz, and supports the borough's campaign for single status.

He said: “The are great differences of emphasis between the town and the rest of the county. It would make sense for the town to have control of its own destiny.”

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