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Take a look inside Suffolk Coastal District Council’s new headquarters

East Suffolk House at Riduna Park, Melton - home of Suffolk Coastal District Council. Picture: RUTH LEACH

East Suffolk House at Riduna Park, Melton - home of Suffolk Coastal District Council. Picture: RUTH LEACH

Council staff are this week settling into new surroundings, following completion of a move “driven by efficiency and effectiveness”.

Left to right: Sandy Palmer, Stacey Ransby and Sarah Rattle enjoying their new surroundings Left to right: Sandy Palmer, Stacey Ransby and Sarah Rattle enjoying their new surroundings

Suffolk Coastal aims to save £200,000 in a year of occupying new headquarters at Riduna Park, Melton rising to £500,000 in the long term.

East Suffolk House replaces the old Woodbridge offices – sold as part of a wider project, which included the sale of its Cedar House property on the opposite side of Melton Hill.

Councillor Geoff Holdcroft in front of the new building Councillor Geoff Holdcroft in front of the new building

Geoff Holdcroft, deputy leader of the council, cabinet member for economic development and chairman of the accommodation programme board, said the transition had come on schedule and under budget.

“This hasn’t cost the taxpayer a penny,” he added. “It’s a move driven by efficiency and effectiveness.

Councillors Debbie McCallum and Raymond Catchpole discuss plans for the first meeting in the council chamber Councillors Debbie McCallum and Raymond Catchpole discuss plans for the first meeting in the council chamber

“Everyone can work together. For example, we have the development management team working more closely with our planning team.

“The sale of Melton Hill has paid for this building – and a little more, which will go into reserves, to be spent on services in the future.”

Micheal Charlton unpacks boxes of files as he settles in to the new offices Micheal Charlton unpacks boxes of files as he settles in to the new offices

In July, Suffolk Coastal and Waveney’s cabinets approved proposals to create a new single, financially self-sufficient council from 2019.

“We are looking forward to the future of local government,” said Mr Holdcroft. “I think, what we see here is literally that.

The reception area at East Suffolk House The reception area at East Suffolk House

“Mid Suffolk and Babergh found a different solution [moving to Suffolk County Council’s Endeavour House headquarters].

“This was effective for us because we are already in partnership with Waveney and have a common cadre of officers across two sites [East Suffolk House and Waveney’s Riverside building in Lowestoft].”

Aidine Schrankel assists Amanda Deakin in unpacking files Aidine Schrankel assists Amanda Deakin in unpacking files

The sale of land at Melton Hill for an undisclosed value to Active Urban Property Group freed up 3.23 acres of space for about 70 new homes in Woodbridge although a planning application has yet to be made.

Contracts have been exchanged, and the sale is on course for completion in 2017, once planning consent has been agreed.

Mr Holdcroft said: “The sale was subject to planning permission and we will look at it with the usual public scrutiny.

“We believe a social housing provider will be on board, and the developer has promised a third of homes will be affordable, which we will hold them to.”

A man arrested after reportedly being armed with a gun and allegedly holding a young woman against her will at a house in Ipswich this morning has been released under investigation, pending further enquiries, police have said.

Police searching for missing Kesgrave man Paul Moore, who has not been seen for almost three weeks, have made an arrest.

Three people are due to appear in court on Monday after an elderly woman had her handbag stolen in Felixstowe town centre on Saturday afternoon.

With temperatures due to plunge and three days of snow warnings, calls are being made for neighbours to look out for the more vulnerable people in their communities.

Widespread snow has been forecast for Suffolk and Essex next week, starting on Monday morning. Find out here if your local school in Suffolk or Essex has been forced to close fully or partially on Monday.

Meet Ally – a devoted guide dog who is being forced to retire early after she was attacked six times in Suffolk.

Emergency services were called to a two-vehicle crash at a busy junction in Ipswich on Sunday night.

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