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17 days to decide on council make up

PUBLISHED: 19:18 22 April 2008 | UPDATED: 20:13 05 July 2010

SUFFOLK councils and political groups have been given just 17 days to come up with reasons why their differing plans for unitary government in the county should be backed by the Boundary Committee for England.

SUFFOLK councils and political groups have been given just 17 days to come up with reasons why their differing plans for unitary government in the county should be backed by the Boundary Committee for England.

Civil servants whose job it is to redraw the map of Suffolk's local government have met to discuss the 15 initial submissions put forward by the county council, the seven district authorities, and a number of party political organisations.

Suffolk County and Mid Suffolk district councils have proposed a single unitary county, but this has been opposed by Suffolk Coastal, Ipswich, Waveney, Forest Heath and St Edmundsbury councils.

Babergh, St Edmundsbury, and Forest Heath favour East and West Suffolk unitaries, although Babergh has said it would back the all-county unitary as its second preference.

Ipswich, Waveney and Suffolk Coastal support the establishment of three unitary councils, based on a Greater Ipswich and splitting the remainder of the county into east and eest authorities.

All eight councils reject a Yartoft cross-border authority linking Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth, a proposal which Communities Secretary Hazel Blears has asked the Boundary Committee to consider.

The committee's director Archie Gall yesterday wrote to councils and political parties giving them until May 9 to submit detailed support for the particular unitary option they favour.

To Ipswich and Suffolk Coastal, Mr Gall asks the councils to assess the significance of the economic links between Ipswich and Felixstowe in the sub region, while all councils have been asked to judge the impact on their proposals if Yartoft is given the go-ahead.

When all new submissions have been received, the Boundary Committee will work up a draft proposal to be published on July 7. Suffolk residents will then have two months to comment before a final plan is sent to Ms Blears, who is due to give her decision early in the New Year.

Similar exercises are being conducted in Norfolk and Devon.

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