'We are now very near to the finish line' - Parliamentary approval for east Suffolk 'super council'
PUBLISHED: 16:19 10 May 2018 | UPDATED: 16:28 10 May 2018
East Suffolk Councils
A Suffolk "super council" proposal has won parliamentary approval - paving the way for its creation in the next "few weeks".
Officials from Suffolk Coastal and Waveney district councils attended Parliament on Wednesday to witness the latest progress in their merger plans.
The parliamentary order for the new council’s creation was presented by Rishi Sunak MP, minister for housing, communities and local government, in the Commons and Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth in the Lords – both were approved.
An “assenting motion” will now be heard in both houses before the secretary of state for housing, communities and local government signs the order, confirming the creation of the new council, which is expected “in the next few weeks”.
The two councils, which formed a partnership 2008, have been looking to unite as one “super district council” to make further savings for the taxpayer since 2016.
The plans were agreed by both councils in January 2017 and received backing from the secretary of state later that year.
In March, they held their first joint cabinet - followed by their first full meeting earlier this month.
The new East Suffolk Council will see the number of councillors cut from 90 to 55, bringing envisaged savings of around £200,000 a year.
Suffolk Coastal leader Ray Herring said: “I am absolutely delighted that both the House of Lords and House of Commons have approved the order to create a new council for east Suffolk. Each step brings an East Suffolk Council closer and we are now very near to the finish line.”
Mark Bee, leader of Waveney added: “Parliamentary approval of our plans is a clear indication that a new East Suffolk Council would be the best option for our local communities. This approval is fantastic news and I am very pleased indeed.”
Details of how the new council could look were revealed for the first time earlier this year in a 137-page document outlining the two council’s proposals for electoral changes.
The councils have said a new, merged, authority would be better placed to address the shared challenges they both face including increased housing demand, reduced funding from government and how to make best use of devolved powers.