Council leaders praise “momentous decision” following approval of ‘super district council’

Ray Herring, leader of Suffolk Coastal, with Rt Hon Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for communities

Ray Herring, leader of Suffolk Coastal, with Rt Hon Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for communities and local government and Mark Bee, leader of Waveney District Council. Picture: Courtesy of Suffolk Coastal District Council. - Credit: Archant

The creation of a 'super district council' for east Suffolk has been approved by the government.

The merger will see Suffolk Coastal and Waveney District Councils join together to create a new single authority for the area to deliver vital services under the name East Suffolk District Council.

The news was announced today by Rt Hon Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for communities and local government.

He said: 'Having carefully considered all the representations I have received and all the relevant information available to me, I am today announcing that I have decided to implement, subject to Parliamentary approval, both proposals – that is to merge Suffolk Coastal and Waveney district councils to become a new single district council named East Suffolk.'

Mr Javid has also confirmed the merger of Forest Heath District Council and St Edmundsbury Borough Council to become a new single district council named West Suffolk.

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This is the first time that the Secretary of State has given his backing to such a plan.

With his agreement the new council would come into being, and begin operations, following the local council elections in May 2019.

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The two existing councils will then be formally dissolved with elections to the new authority.

A spokesman for Waveney District Council said the proposal is expected to go before Parliament in late spring.

News of the merger has been welcomed by the leaders of Suffolk Coastal and Waveney District Council, Ray Herring and Mark Bee.

In a joint statement they said: 'This is a truly momentous decision for us and for the people of east Suffolk.

'Although this announcement is a national first, for us in east Suffolk it is the next logical step on a decade-long journey.

'We are used to breaking new ground, as we have been finding innovative ways to cut costs and manage our business since Suffolk Coastal and Waveney started working in partnership 10 years ago.

'We have already made over £18m in efficiency savings and halved our joint workforce, while still investing in our communities.

'The creation of an East Suffolk Council will enable us to build on this decade of co-operation to give greater value for money, while continuing to improve service delivery.'

They added: 'We need to evolve, if we are to successfully address the shared opportunities and challenges that both councils face. There have been significant reductions in Central Government funding for councils, but we need to be able to drive and invest in growth and infrastructure projects, as well as providing more much-needed housing.

'A larger, more influential East Suffolk Council will enable us to fulfil our potential in driving development, while keeping costs low.'

Suffolk Coastal and Waveney District Councils both voted to approve the proposal for the 'super district council' in January 2017.

A business case was then submitted to the Department of Communities and Local Government in February 2017.

In November last year, Mr Javid issued a written statement to the House of Commons confirming that he was 'minded to' support the proposals. At the same time he said there would be a period of time during which those interested could make further representation to him, including making any suggested modifications to the proposals. This came to a close on January 8 this year.

He has now considered all the comments he received and decided to officially back the plan.

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