Councils set to work together

GREATER co-operation between local authorities is expected to take place following the election of Mark Bee as new Conservative leader at Suffolk County Council.

Interim leader Jane Storey said she was looking forward to the county council working more closely with districts and boroughs across Suffolk in an attempt to cut costs.

She said: “We recognise that there might be changes, but we all want to work with him as he works with us.”

Mrs Storey is standing for election to Mid Suffolk council in next month’s elections – and hoped that there would now be more attention paid to the campaign for district council elections.

She said: “There has been a good bit of noise around what is happening at the county and I hope we can now concentrate on the districts.

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“We always want to work with the districts and the boroughs because that is the best way to make savings.

“As part of the unitary bid we identified that we could make savings if we all worked together and I think that is possibly something we haven’t concentrated on which we should have concentrated on.”

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Mr Bee said his experience as leader of Waveney council meant he was very keen to work more closely with other authorities in Suffolk.

He said: “There are great opportunities for us to share back office staff and achieve the kind of savings that we all need to get.

“I have been speaking to council leaders across the county and I think they are all very much in favour of a more co-operative approach from the county council.”

Under the New Strategic Direction the county council was keen to speak to parish councils and community groups about divesting services.

But districts and boroughs often felt that they were being excluded from the decisions that were being made at Endeavour House – falling victim to a culture, as they saw it, that the county was reluctant to transfer services from one level of local government to another.

This frustration particularly showed itself in Ipswich and Lowestoft – large towns with no parish councils to provide community leadership.

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