Call for residents to have a say on council merger proposals

James Waters and John Griffiths, leaders of Forest Heath District and St Edmundsbury Borough Councils.
Picture: Mark Westley.
James Waters and John Griffiths, leaders of Forest Heath District and St Edmundsbury Borough Councils. Picture: Mark Westley.
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Have your say

People have until the end of the month to have a say on proposals to create a new single council for west Suffolk.

Forest Heath District Council and St Edmundsbury Borough Council will consider merging to create a new single council next month.

This means decisions would be made by councillors from across the combined west Suffolk area.

John Griffiths, St Edmundsbury Borough Council Leader, said: “I think most people care more that we are delivering services in the most effective way than they do about council structures, boundaries and processes.”

A draft business case on the proposal says the move could save £800,000 a year, while also improve service delivery, drive jobs and boost investment.

It adds a single council could better meet challenges including increased population, increased demands on health care and housing and reduced funding nationally.

A single council would replace the existing borough and district councils but deliver the same services.

Some of the councils’ services are already shared, including waste collections, saving £4 million a year.

James Waters, Forest Heath district councillor, said: “A new single council would put us in a much better position to drive jobs, manage growth and face the financial challenges we face.”

A proportionally representative phone poll about the proposal has also been carried out and both councils are talking to local groups, businesses and partners.

All feedback will be considered by councillors when they debate the proposals next month.

For more information and to submit your views, go to www.westsuffolk.gov.uk/singlecouncil

People can also email their views to future. council@westsuffolk.gov.uk