Merger plan for Suffolk councils receives a national first from Secretary of State

From left: Peter Aldous, MP for Waveney, Therese Coffey, MP for Suffolk Coastal, Ray Herring, leader of Suffolk Coastal District Council, Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Mark Bee, leader of Waveney District Council, Dan Poulter, MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich. Submitted picture.
From left: Peter Aldous, MP for Waveney, Therese Coffey, MP for Suffolk Coastal, Ray Herring, leader of Suffolk Coastal District Council, Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Mark Bee, leader of Waveney District Council, Dan Poulter, MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich. Submitted picture.

Two councils bidding to create one super district authority have achieved a national first.

Suffolk Coastal and Waveney District Councils are aiming to create one district council to deliver services across the communities.

I am ‘minded to’ implement the locally-led proposal I received from Suffolk Coastal and Waveney district councils in February 2017 to merge their two respective councils to become a single, new district council

Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Communities and Government

And the plan has moved a step closer after it received the seal of approval from the Secretary of State for Communities and Government, Sajid Javid, in what is believed to be a national first.

In a written statement to the House of Commons, the Secretary of State confirmed he is “minded to” support the proposal to create a new single authority for the area.

“Having carefully considered all the material and representations I have received, I am ‘minded to’ implement the locally-led proposal I received from Suffolk Coastal and Waveney district councils in February 2017 to merge their two respective councils to become a single, new district council,” he said in the statement.

He explained he had made the decision because he believed it would be ‘likely’ to improve local government in the area, has a ‘good deal’ of local support, and the proposed merger has ‘credible geography’.

Before his final decision –subject to Parliamentary approval – there is still time for people to make representations until January 8, 2018.

But the ‘minded to’ decision gives the councils the go ahead to prepare the merger – hoped for May 2019.

In a joint statement, the leaders of Suffolk Coastal and Waveney District Council, Ray Herring and Mark Bee, said: “This is great news for us and the people of east Suffolk. By creating a new larger and more influential council, we will be able to continue to drive costs down, while maintaining services and investing in our local communities.

“We need to evolve, if we are to successfully address the shared opportunities and challenges that both councils face, such as the significant reductions in Central Government funding for councils and the need for investment in growth and infrastructure projects, as well as providing more much-needed housing.”