April 1 marks “momentous day” with formation of two new Suffolk councils
- Credit: East Suffolk Council
Suffolk’s two brand new councils officially launched this week, replacing four councils operating for more than 40 years.
Waveney and Suffolk Coastal district councils have been dissolved and the new East Suffolk Council will now serve the two areas, while West Suffolk Council replaces Forest Heath District Council and St Edmundsbury Borough Council.
Both councils officially began operating under the new names on Monday, April 1, while the new council members will sit from May after the election results have been declared.
The chief executives of the two authorities highlighted the importance of the day.
East Suffolk chief executive Stephen Baker, said: “This is a momentous day.
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“On the one hand we have now introduced a major change to local government structure that has never before been achieved in this way, and yet it will very much be business as usual.
“We will continue to work and deliver services much as we have been doing – carefully, diligently, efficiently, united around our shared values.
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“However, the process of change will continue. On May 2nd a new council for East Suffolk will be elected, heralding a new era for democracy in our area.
“We will continue to work to serve our communities, of every sort, responding to new opportunities and challenges as they arise.”
East Suffolk held an official ‘walk into work’ at its Lowestoft and Melton headquarters, with the new East Suffolk Council ‘super district’ becoming one of the largest single authorities in the country.
Chief executive at West Suffolk Council Ian Gallin said: “It is a very historic day in the next chapter of West Suffolk.
“I want to reassure people they should see no difference in the day to day way they engage with us, but the new council will mean we are better able to champion West Suffolk and face the challenges ahead.
“It has been designed with our communities at its heart and to not only continue delivering high quality services but manage growth, attract investment and better work with our communities on local initiatives.”
Work has been underway for the last two years in transferring the four previous councils into the new authorities, and will generate savings of around £1.3million a year in East Suffolk and West Suffolk will save £800,000 annually and protect additional £4m savings from sharing staff and services.
Both Waveney and Suffolk Coastal, and Forest Heath and St Edmundsbury have been working together for a number of years, meaning homes should not see much of a change in the way their council business such as bin collections and paying council tax should operate.
The four defunct councils were all formed in the mid-1970s, replacing a number of urban and rural district and borough authorities.