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Mid Suffolk/Babergh: Needham Market’s shops and community will lose out if council leaves headquarters - claims town clerk

18:22 05 June 2014

Mid Suffolk District Council in Needham Market.

Mid Suffolk District Council in Needham Market.

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There are fears businesses and the community will suffer if a council pulls out of being based in a town.

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Babergh District Council, Corks Lane, Hadleigh.Babergh District Council, Corks Lane, Hadleigh.

Property consultants Lambert Smith Hampton are working on proposals which could include Mid Suffolk and Babergh district councils leaving their headquarters in Needham Market and Hadleigh.

Kevin Hunter, clerk for Needham Market Town Council, said: “They are the main employer in the town and have a significant presence and clearly if that were to change it would have an impact.

“Their staff use shops, restaurants and cafes so it would have a
significant impact if the council were to relocate from the current headquarters.”

Babergh’s leader, Jennie Jenkins, has said the councils need to make “substantial savings” with the headquarters costing more than £2million a year to run.

Staff from the district councils will give a presentation to Needham town councillors detailing how the process is going. Andrew Hunkin, the district councils’ strategic director for corporate, said the consultants were due to produce a range of options for consideration in the summer.

“This is one particular scenario that they (the town council) is
focusing on – let’s talk about it – 450 people working across both sites in Hadleigh and Needham. If an office was to close, if both offices were to, it would have an impact on the economy,” he said.

“The town council is right that we will give due regard to the economic impact but we want to find out by looking at particular options what would be the impact.”

Both Mrs Jenkins and Mid Suffolk’s leader, Derrick Haley, have backed the use of “satellite offices” throughout the districts if the
headquarters were to be combined, possibly at a site off the A14 near Ipswich.

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Photo: Paul Nixon

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