Mid Suffolk/Babergh: Progress on proposal to move councils to Suffolk County Council’s Endeavour House

Babergh District Council, Corks Lane, Hadleigh.

Babergh District Council, Corks Lane, Hadleigh.

Proposals which could see Mid Suffolk and Babergh relocate to Suffolk County Council’s headquarters have moved a step closer.

Faced with the prospect of further budget cuts, the two district councils are working on saving millions of pounds.

One way to save money is for the councils to move out of their current homes, Hadleigh for Babergh and Needham Market for Mid Suffolk – both of which are under used and costly to run.

But the authorities have stressed the need to maintain a presence in the districts – with satellite offices put forward to provide contact points in key towns.

Yesterday Mid Suffolk councillors unanimously agreed to develop the proposal – which could mean Suffolk County Council’s office, Endeavour House, acting as an administration or back office hub.

Similar proposals, which will also be developed, include for the hub to be established in the “Ipswich Fringe” area or at one of the current district council headquarters.

Derrick Haley, Mid Suffolk leader, said: “It’s going to be quite a lengthy process and we need to understand the impact of this. Every single thing that we think of has to be considered, otherwise there will be something that will be missed.

“We will take our time, we need to make sure that everything is covered; everything is up for debate.”

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Andrew Stringer, Green councillor and group opposition leader, said one option should be to keep the hub in the district, at its Stowmarket depot.

He called on councillors not to view the county council’s Endeavour House as a kind of “nirvana”.

He said: “The option about where to put the hub, it seems totally in favour of Suffolk County Council. We actually have a perfectly good site in Mid Suffolk for the hub at our depot.”

Babergh is due to meet to discuss the options on Thursday.

A final decision on whether to go-ahead with any of the proposals is expected after the next elections, in May 2015.