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Market shoppers hear of council changes

PUBLISHED: 09:36 06 September 2008 | UPDATED: 21:13 05 July 2010

THERE was more than the usual fruit and vegetables to be seen on the market day stalls in Beccles yesterday when Waveney District Council set up a stand to seek support for a new East Suffolk council.

Market day shoppers hear of council changes bid

THERE was more than the usual fruit and vegetables to be seen on the market day stalls in Beccles yesterday when Waveney District Council set up a stand to seek support for a new East Suffolk council.

Council leader Mark Bee set up camp outside the King's Head pub to tell shoppers about his proposal for a new council set-up in Suffolk. An East Suffolk council would envelop Lowestoft, the Waveney area, Stowmarket, Woodbridge and Saxmunham, stopping short of Ipswich and Felixstowe.

The district council came up with the proposal in response to the options put forward by the Boundary Committee of a large, single council for Suffolk, including or excluding Ipswich and Felixstowe. All of its proposals push Lowestoft into Norfolk.

Mr Bee, who lives in Beccles, said he recognised that the problem with many people lies in the fact that none of the Boundary Committee's options are to follow the status quo.

“The majority of people here are saying leave it as it is, don't mess about with it,” he said. “But at least with an East Suffolk Council with the base in Lowestoft, Beccles people will still have their local government 10 miles down the road like they've had since 1974. It's about keeping local government local.”

He pointed out that under a single Suffolk authority, councillors as far away as Newmarket would play a part in deciding on planning applications of Beccles residents.

He said that his vision included a centre in Beccles which would deal with a full range of council services, such as planning and social services.

Beccles mayor David Smith, who also spoke to passing shoppers, said: “We have not yet made up our minds as a town council,” he said. “If Lowestoft is kept in Suffolk the income generated by businesses will be high, but if it is moved out of Suffolk we would be the largest town in this area and we wouldn't have as much money going in. That could have an impact on council tax.

“People in Beccles are now becoming aware of the importance of this issue,” he added. “It does directly affect us.”

The public consultation ends on September 26.

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