Suffolk: Mid Suffolk and Babergh districts vote against council merger plans

RESIDENTS living within the boundaries of two Suffolk district councils have voted against merging them into one authority.

Voters in Babergh and Mid Suffolk districts had been polled on whether the councils should become one - but a fraction under the required 50% of respondents backed the move.

The merger proposal was more popular in Mid Suffolk than in Babergh but both councils had stated that only if more than 50% of those voting in both districts voted yes would the project continue to the next stage.

On hearing the results of the local poll, Jennie Jenkins, chairman of Babergh’s Strategy Committee, said: “Local people have spoken and from these results, those in Babergh are telling us not to go for merger.

“We are in very tough times financially, and the estimated additional savings from running one council rather than two, will now have to be found elsewhere.

“The integration of the two councils’ staffing structures and services will still go ahead but the two councils will remain as separate legal entities.

“In addition, both councils will need to confront some difficult decisions in making their books balance over the years ahead”.

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Tim Passmore, Mid Suffolk’s leader, added: “It is extremely disappointing that we have a split view from our local communities about our innovative approach.

“We still face the difficult challenge of meeting very demanding financial savings while delivering front-line services and it is unfortunate that we cannot work more closely to achieve our radical and innovative idea for merger.”

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