Have you had your say on merger of Forest Heath and St Edmundsbury councils?

John Griffiths and James Waters May 2017. Picture: WEST SUFFOLK COUNCILS

John Griffiths and James Waters May 2017. Picture: WEST SUFFOLK COUNCILS - Credit: Archant

CThe consultation on the creation of a single council for west Suffolk - a propoal that could save £800,000 - finishes at the end of this month.

Forest Heath District and St Edmundsbury Borough Councils are looking at forming a new council to better drive jobs, deliver services and invest in supporting local communities.

A new council could bring savings and efficiencies totalling about £800,000 every year through reducing duplication and being able to work smarter while creating more capacity to do more.

Already both councils share services, for example collecting bins or ensuring people can access the right housing – saving taxpayers £4million every year.

John Griffiths, leader of St Edmundsbury Borough Council, said: “Creating a new single council will give us a better ability to drive the local economy, jobs and prosperity for the communities and businesses we serve.

“Now we want to engage with the public, business and local partners as well as look at the issues in more detail.

“We have shown sharing services works and has been saving our council taxpayers ?£4million every year to help us invest in our communities, deliver high quality services while facing reduced national funding.

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“That has given us the firm financial footing and now a golden opportunity to look at how to even better meet future challenges.

“I think most people care more that we are delivering services in the most effective way than they do about council structures, boundaries and processes.”

A draft business case has been developed and both councils have agreed to look next month at whether to take this forward and inform the Government of their decision.

James Waters, leader of Forest Heath District Council, said: “Doing what is right for our communities is at the heart of what we do and the business case is clear there are real benefits to be had.”

He added: “Now we want to hear the views of our communities and businesses to help us inform the debate we will be having in September and shape the business plan.”

People have until the end of August to have their say on the proposals. They can find out more and make their views known at http:www.westsuffolk.gov.uk/singlecouncil

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