Mid Suffolk & Babergh: Council merger row continues

THREE group leaders on one council last night branded comments about them made by the leader of the other as “rude and cheeky”, or a misplaced at attempt humour.

The trio, Sue Carpendale, Sue Wigglesworth and Tony Bavington, all senior figures on Babergh District Council, hit back at Mid Suffolk leader Tim Passmore after he publicly criticised them for openly questioning the integration plans.

The councils have agreed to share services and are now polling the public on the full merger.

The East Anglian Daily Times reported on Tuesday that the three councillors felt the merger would disadvantage Babergh residents, claims Mr Passmore called “preposterous”.

In a new statement responding to Mr Passmore’s comments, the councillors said information sent out in poll packs had not been balanced.

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They said: “Mr Passmore’s claims that councillors have been in favour of a merger can only suggest that he has lacked the sensitivity to notice that members from Babergh have consistently raised queries and objections throughout the many meetings that have taken place during the last several months.

“The rude and cheeky outburst – or was it misplaced humour – reported (in the EADT) rather suggests he could have failed to do so.”

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Last night Mr Passmore said that for a group of councillors to suggest that they were the only ones with a “strong sense of community” was an insult to all members of both authorities.

He added: “The aim is not to abolish one council for the benefit of the other. The merger presents an opportunity to create a new council that serves the people of both districts better than existing arrangements – hence the saving of �800,000 per year that, otherwise, will have to be found elsewhere.”

Nick Ridley, chair of Babergh’s strategy committee, said all the pros and cons of the merger had been sent out in the local poll packs and more information was available on both councils’ websites.

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