Lowestoft to stay in Suffolk

LOWESTOFT is set to stay in Suffolk, it has emerged today.The government's Boundary Committee has decided Suffolk will either be run as one authority or with a rural Suffolk/urban Ipswich option.

LOWESTOFT is set to stay in Suffolk, it has emerged today.

The government's Boundary Committee has decided Suffolk will either be run as one authority or as a two-unitary Greater Ipswich and rural county model option.

Proposals to split Suffolk east/west have been rejected - and the Lowestoft area will not be moved into Norfolk.

This has lead the leaders of three Suffolk councils to say that the Boundary Committee have ignored the views of local people by failing to include the three-unitary East, West and Greater Ipswich option in its latest proposals for changing local government in Suffolk.

Cllr Mark Bee, Leader of Waveney District Council, Cllr John Griffiths, Leader of St Edmundsbury Borough Council and Cllr Geoffrey Jaggard, Leader of Forest Heath District Council said today: 'It has always been clear that moving Lowestoft in to Norfolk was a ridiculous idea and the Boundary Committee have finally wised up to that.

'However, we are shocked that in the face of clear public support for the inclusion of our proposals the Boundary Committee has brazenly ignored the public's desire for a proper consultation on a local government system which would be focused on areas each with their own, very different identities and economies.

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"The Committee has missed the opportunity given to it by the Secretary of State to consider its position and re-think what people in Suffolk have said they want and need. Instead they have produced a fudge which still recommends giant remote councils delivering a one-size-fits-all solution for different and diverse communities across the county. Despite a lengthy and hugely expensive process we are quite simply back where we started. The dog's dinner moves on to yet another course."

The Leaders continued: "The decision only to consult on the original proposals flies in the face of public opinion. It ignores residents who overwhelmingly support the three-unitary proposal and equally reject One Suffolk. The needs of local people are not being heard or met and while they may use the slogan "Democracy Matters", the way that the Boundary Committee has ignored public opinion today reveals the reality that, for them, "Bureaucracy Matters".

The three councils will now consider their next move and are determined that the people of Suffolk will be heard, adding: "We now call on the Secretary of State to intervene and instruct the Boundary Committee to consult on all viable options including East, West and the greater Ipswich. We will, meanwhile, take all actions necessary to ensure that local people have their say on all options."

The final decision from the Boundary Committee is expected to be announced in July and secretary of state for local government Hazel Blears will then have six weeks to make a final decision.

Elections for the new authorities, which would probably come into existence in 2011, would take place in May next year - although the Conservatives have said they will abandon the reorganisation if they win power at the next general election.

Responses to the draft proposals can be made by filling in an online form at www.boundarycommittee.org.uk or writing to: Review Manager (Norfolk and Suffolk Reviews), The Boundary Committee for England, Trevelyan House, Great Peter Street, London, SW1P 2HW.