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Waveney and Suffolk Coastal could create one of largest councils in country

PUBLISHED: 09:03 04 March 2016 | UPDATED: 09:03 04 March 2016

Suffolk Coastal District Council could be set to merge with Waveney District Council.

Suffolk Coastal District Council could be set to merge with Waveney District Council.

Archant

Two Suffolk council’s are to examine their future working relationship – with the possibility of a merger being explored.

If they were to officially join, it would create one of the geographically largest local authorities in the country.

The announcement comes just a month after Suffolk Coastal and Waveney district councils published a statement denying speculation about a merger, saying they had “no plans” to link up though would look at future options.

They have been working increasingly closely since appointing a joint chief executive in 2008 in a partnership that has made £16million efficiency savings.

On Monday, March 14 the authorities will hold a Simultaneous Cabinet Meeting when leading councillors from both will consider a report examining all the options for the future – from forming a wider partnership with one or more other district or borough councils to formally merging Suffolk Coastal and Waveney into a single district council for East Suffolk.

The council’s stress that proposals are still at a very early stage. Any merger could not happen without a lengthy democratic process, including public consultation, which would run until 2019 at the earliest.

In a statement, the leaders of Suffolk Coastal and Waveney, Ray Herring and Colin Law, said: “Suffolk Coastal and Waveney have been successfully working in partnership since 2008. We were the first councils in Suffolk, and among the first in the country, to adopt this approach.”

“This partnership working has played a key role in both councils’ ability to drive down costs and provide more efficient frontline services, giving local tax payers better value for money.”

“However, in the current economic climate, when councils are being forced to put up council tax for the first time in six years, we recognise that we need to continue to explore new and innovative ways of making savings.

“If the councils decide to explore the possibility of a merger, because it is felt this will help us to deliver better services and provide better value for money, this would have to be agreed by both full councils, as well as there being public consultation and the Boundary Commission being involved.

“Any such proposal would be subject to a lengthy and full democratic process, which would be in the public domain over a period of years and would not be implemented before the 2019 elections.”

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