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Boundary changes decision delayed

PUBLISHED: 15:59 08 December 2008 | UPDATED: 21:59 05 July 2010

AN alliance of three councils has slammed the "flawed processes" of the Boundary Committee after helping persuade the Government to delay an important announcement on Local Government Review.

AN alliance of three councils has slammed the “flawed processes” of the Boundary Committee after helping persuade the Government to delay an important announcement on Local Government Review.

The Boundary Committee will no longer present its recommendations to the Secretary of State on December 31. Instead the announcement will be made on February 13, after concerns were raised by a number of authorities, including an alliance of Forest Heath, Waveney and St Edmundsbury councils who complained that no consideration had been given to proposals for three new, dynamic and efficient unitary authorities in the county.

In a letter issued onFriday, December 5, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) told the Boundary Committee that the Secretary of State proposed the delay for a number of reasons.

These include the concerns of the alliance, complaints from East Devon District Council - where a review is also being undertaken - and from several Norfolk district councils who took the matter to court.

There, a judge's ruling stated that it would “not be possible” for the committee to comply with its duty to consult on affordability if it intended to report by December 31.

In a joint statement, council leaders Geoffrey Jaggard (Forest Heath), John Griffiths (St Edmundsbury) and Mark Bee (Waveney) expressed their satisfaction.

They said: “This decision is a vindication from the secretary of state herself for actions which underline our determination to do what is right for the people of Suffolk. This proves that the review so far has been rushed and that is bad news for local government and local communities.

“Our strongly-worded letter left the committee in no doubt that we are angry with the flawed processes of this review and that we will not stand idly by while decisions are taken which we believe are not in the best interests of this county.

“We have no doubt whatsoever that a three-unitary structure would be the best way to deliver strong, effective and engaging local government and we now call on the Boundary Committee once more to meet with us, listen to our proposals and afford us the same consideration that has been given to the unwieldy and undemocratic giant Suffolk option.”

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