Sajid Javid approves Suffolk council mergers

Waveney MP Peter Aldous, Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey, Suffolk Coastal leader Ray Herring, secr

Waveney MP Peter Aldous, Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey, Suffolk Coastal leader Ray Herring, secretary of state for communities and local government Sajid Javid, Waveney leader Mark Bee, and Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dan Poulter meet to discuss the East Suffolk councils' merger last year. Picture: SUFFOLK COASTAL DISTRICT COUNCIL - Credit: Archant

Suffolk Coastal and Waveney district councils will now become East Suffolk District Council with and Forest Heath district council and St Edmundsbury Borough Council merging to become West Suffolk District Council.

The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid has approved plans to merge four Suffolk councils.

Speaking this morning Mr Javid said: “Having carefully considered all the representations I have received and all the relevant information available to me, I am today announcing that I have decided to implement, subject to Parliamentary approval, both proposals.”

The final hurdle for the plans will be the Parliamentary approval once this goes through both councils will officially come into being on April 1 2019 with the first elections being held on May 2 2019.

No specific announcement was made regarding council tax in the two districts but previous informations from the councils involved stated that they didn’t expect taxes to change too much.

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The leaders of Suffolk Coastal an Waveney District Council, Cllrs Ray Herring and Mark Bee released a joint statement welcoming the news: “This is a truly momentous decision for us and for the people of east Suffolk.

“Although this announcement is a national first, for us in east Suffolk it is the next logical step on a decade-long journey.

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“We are used to breaking new ground, as we have been finding innovative ways to cut costs and manage our business since Suffolk Coastal and Waveney started working in partnership 10 years ago.”

“We have already made over £18 million in efficiency savings and halved our joint workforce, while still investing in our communities. The creation of an East Suffolk Council will enable us to build on this decade of co-operation to give greater value for money, while continuing to improve service delivery.”

Councillors in West Suffolk are also pleased with Mr Javid’s announcement.

Forest Heath District Council Leader James Waters, said: “We have a national reputation for being at the forefront of innovating and transforming local government. Doing what is right for our communities is always at the heart of what we do and is the reason we are creating this new West Suffolk Council.

“The Minster’s announcement today reinforces that Government agrees with our approach which will benefit our communities, Suffolk and UK PLC. Staying still is not an option if we are to meet future challenges and better champion our communities, both locally and nationally, as well as continuing to deliver high quality services. This means we are not only in a better position to have a louder voice but a real opportunity to find even more effective ways to work more closely and support our local organisations and residents. I look forward to helping create this new single council.”

St Edmundsbury Borough Council Leader, Councillor John Griffiths, added: “The decision today and the speed it has taken shows how compelling our arguments have been to Government for a new Council and how important we know West Suffolk is to the economy. We are already a success story and this is the next chapter in transforming what we do, to better meet the needs of our communities and businesses.

“We have listened to local residents and organisations who agree lines on a map or council structures should not get in the way of providing services or hamper us from seizing opportunities for continued investment in our communities.

“Not only can we continue to deliver high quality services but we can better champion our area, drive the local economy, jobs and prosperity in West Suffolk while tackling the challenges facing all public services.”

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