SAVO backs unitary county

ONE of Suffolk's most influential organisations has voiced strong support for a single unitary county if the go-ahead is given to a radical overhaul of local government.

Graham Dines

ONE of Suffolk's most influential organisations has voiced strong support for a single unitary county if the go-ahead is given to a radical overhaul of local government.

Suffolk Association of Voluntary Organisations (SAVO), whose members include charities and social groups, is also opposing Lowestoft's inclusion in a hybrid Norfolk unitary, a move proposed by the Boundary Committee for England as part of a shake-up of the current county and district councils.

The committee is consulting the public on its original proposals - two “super councils” in Suffolk based on Ipswich-Felixstowe and a rural country unitary plus one giant Norfolk single county which would also absorb Lowestoft.


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Jonathan Moore, SAVO's chief executive, said: “Dividing rural from urban and lopping off Lowestoft runs counter to Suffolk's sense of place, culture and history.”

He added: “The county of Suffolk is a logical and workable for both strategy and delivery.”

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In a strongly-worded leading article in this month's SAVO newsletter, editor Robin Hodgkinson says: “The chances are we will end up with a structure that no-one, except Whitehall, wants.

“The only people who will really benefit from the boundary changes are the marketing companies and printers employed to design and print new logos, slogans, letterheads and business cards.”

SAVO says the proposed shake-up, which follows the Government's instructions to the Boundary Committee to come up with “unitary solutions for Suffolk and Norfolk,” could affect funding for charities and social volunteer groups.

Waveney council leader Mark Bee will be outside the Kings Head hotel in Market Street, Beccles, between 10am to 2pm tomorrow to talk to shoppers and residents about its joint plan with Forest Heath and St Edmundsbury councils for separate East and West Suffolk unitaries.

“East Suffolk has a clear identity; a sense of place and I want any new authority to focus on the economic development of our coastal communities and market towns,” said Mr Bee.

“A giant Suffolk mega-council would be remote and out of touch. How could such a structure provide real community leadership for the people of Beccles if it is based in Ipswich or Bury St Edmunds?”

n HAVE YOUR SAY: Suffolk county and the Babergh, Forest Heath, Ipswich, Mid Suffolk, St Edmundsbury, Suffolk Coastal and Waveney councils would disappear under the Boundary Committee's unitary councils.

The coupon below tells you have your voice can be heard during the current public consultation.

EADT web poll result:

Should Lowestoft stay in Suffolk under the proposed council shake up?

Yes: 85%

No: 15%

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