Babergh merger delay has not stopped public consultation on councils

The councils' logos but how closely will they be working in future?

The councils' logos but how closely will they be working in future? - Credit: Archant

The proposed merger of Babergh and Mid Suffolk councils may have been put back by the promise of a referendum in south Suffolk – but the consultation on the future of the authorities continues.

The councils’ cabinets launched the consultation at the end of last year before there was a revolt at Babergh which led to the resignation of council leader Jennie Jenkins.

Babergh and Mid Suffolk residents still have more than two weeks left to submit their comments on draft proposals to create a new council in the heart of Suffolk.

People can submit their views until February 5. The consultation asks residents and businesses in both districts to comment on proposals to dissolve both councils and form a new, single authority to cover the area.

Responses can be submitted online through a survey, directly via email to or in writing to the councils.

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The views submitted will help lead to a detailed business case, which will be drafted and considered by councillors later in the year.

An independent telephone survey of 4,000 residents is also being carried out by ComRes.

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The new leader of Babergh, John Ward said the current survey was about more than just holding a referendum which he promised to voters are being voted into his current role.

He said: “This current engagement offers the chance to have your say on the future of public services in our area and what is most important to you.

“How people respond to this engagement and what they say will shape the future of local government and I encourage everyone to take the time to let us know their thoughts over the next three weeks. This will of course be followed by further engagement in future, when we have additional information to put before our residents.”

A spokesman for the councils said there was still no definitive cost for the exercise – that could only be calculated once it was complete.

In the last referendum in 2011 voters in Mid Suffolk voter in favour of a merger but those in Babergh rejected the proposal – and both councils needed to have backed the proposal for it to go ahead. But new government rules mean there is no legal need for a referendum this time.

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