William Eichler 09 May 2017

Leaders publish plans to create single West Suffolk council

Leaders publish plans to create single West Suffolk council image

Council leaders have put forward ‘ambitious’ proposals to create a single council for West Suffolk in a move they hope will ‘drive prosperity’ in the region.

Forest Heath District and St Edmundsbury Borough councils have made annual saving of £4m by sharing services.

Their respective leaders, cllrs James Waters and John Griffiths, believe they can find more savings as well as future proof local services through the creation of a single authority.

Cllr Griffiths said that he thought people cared more about service delivery than they did about council structures, boundaries and processes.

‘They want us to be forward thinking and not let structure get in the way of providing jobs, opportunity and continued vibrant communities,’ he said.

He emphasised that sharing services had put both councils on a ‘firm financial footing’ in order to push forward with the dramatic reform - something he described as a ‘golden opportunity’.

‘We already work closely but this could enable us to be both stronger together and more fleet of foot, to grasp commercial opportunities to further benefit our communities, deliver housing and talk to big business and Government,’ he continued.

‘At the same time we would remain small enough to actually deliver the real local initiatives in west Suffolk that are vital.’

‘Residents do not care what logo is on their bin but that we continue to empty them in the most cost effective way,’ added Cllr Waters.

The council leaders have issued a Statement of Intent outlining the plans. These will need to be agreed by both councils.

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