Councils shake-up could be scuppered

THREE Suffolk districts have won a sensational High Court victory which could scupper plans for a wholesale restructuring of local government in the county.

Graham Dines

THREE Suffolk districts have won a sensational High Court victory which could scupper plans for a wholesale restructuring of local government in the county.

Suffolk Coastal, St Edmundsbury and Forest Heath all challenged the Boundary Committee's decision not consider a three unitary solution to the local government review ordered two years' ago by the Secretary of State.

This morning, they won the support of the High Court which said splitting Suffolk into three - an enlarged Ipswich, West and East unitaries - had been unfairly ignored.

The Boundary Committee was due to submit its final report to the Secretary of State next Wednesday, which would have indicated which option should be given the go-ahead to replace the county and seven districts - a giant One Suffolk unitary or an Ipswich-Felixstowe and Greater Suffolk councils.

Mr Justice Foskett ruled that the Committee had broken rules of “straightforward fairness” and "simple good administration" in rejecting the pleas of the three councils which represent 57% of the county's

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Recognising the “public importance” of the case, the judge granted the Committee leave to appeal against his decision.

The judge said that, as elected bodies representing more than half of Suffolk's population, they had “the right to have their proposals fully and properly considered and evaluated at the pre-consultation stage.”