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Suffolk: Unitary plans to be discussed

PUBLISHED: 09:48 15 April 2009 | UPDATED: 08:56 06 July 2010

PLANS for a new unitary council to cover the whole of the county apart from Ipswich, Felixstowe and the Shotley peninsular have been given the working title of Greater Ipswich.

PLANS for a new unitary council to cover the whole of the county apart from Ipswich, Felixstowe and the Shotley peninsular have been given the working title of Greater Ipswich.

The new name is to distinguish it from Suffolk Rural, which had been given to the now abandoned plans by the Boundary Commission to exclude Lowestoft from the county and to merge it with Norfolk.

If the Government gives the go-ahead to two unitaries in the county, Greater Suffolk would become responsible for all council services in St Edmundsbury, Forest Heath, Waveney and most of the existing Suffolk Coastal, Babergh and Mid Suffolk districts. It will sit alongside North Haven, which is the working title for the unitary authority which will be centres on Ipswich Felixstowe, and include the Shotley Peninsular and parishes in Babergh, Mid Suffolk and Suffolk Coastal which adjoin Ipswich.

Meanwhile, the county council and Mid Suffolk are continuing to promote their concept for One Suffolk - a unitary council responsible for all services in the entire county, similar to the shake-up which the Government approved for Cornwall and Durham.

A series of public information events is being held across Suffolk this month, explaining to residents the various unitary options and in particular outlining the two councils' support for the One Suffolk option.

Jeremy Pembroke, leader of the county council, said: “We are firmly committed to the single unitary option for Suffolk, because we feel this serves the best interests of the county as a whole.

“It prevents wasteful duplication of resources which costs taxpayers more. It protects vital services for the most vulnerable adults and children in our communities. In the current economic downturn, the best value for money option is One Suffolk. It's the only option which is big enough to deliver quality services when less money is available and gives the best deal for Suffolk's council tax payers.”

Tim Passmore, Leader of Mid Suffolk District Council said: “One council will also be able to shout to get recognition for local communities at a national level, and also work with them to make decisions about their own communities.”

The first meeting was a Mildenhall college on Wednesday and further road shows will be held as follows:

Tonight Saxmundham primary school, 7-8pm; April 7 Hartismere high school, Eye, 7-8pm; April 8 Halesworth library, 7-8pm; April 14, at Denes high school, Lowestoft, 7-8pm; April 20 The Oaks children's centre, Felixstowe, 7-8pm; April 21 Sudbury upper and arts college, 7.30-8.30pm and King Edward VI upper school, Bury St Edmunds, 7-8pm; April 21 Copleston high school, Ipswich, 7-8pm; April 23, Kingsfield pupil referral unit, Stowmarket, 7-8pm; April 27 East Bergholt high school, 7-8pm; April 28, Castle Manor business and enterprise college, Haverhill, 7-8pm.

Another meeting will be held at Brandon on a date to be finalised.

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