Public votes needed

Have your say

SENIOR councillors in Mid Suffolk and Babergh are urging residents to cast their votes on whether the two separate councils should be merged to form one single council.

Not all councillors agree that merging is the best step forward.

Integration of services at the two separate district councils is already under way, with a joint chief executive heading the authorities.

Both councils voted in support of the merger proposals last year.

But it is now down to the public living in both districts to vote on whether the two separate councils should merge fully to create a single council covering both areas, which would result in savings of about £1.3 million a year. Voting closes on Monday.

Cllr Sue Carpendale, leader of the Babergh Liberal Democrats, is encouraging people to have their say. She is not convinced that the merger is a good idea for Babergh.

“There are pros and cons to the merger. My fellow group leaders and I initially put forward our concerns about the merger because the official information leaflet lacked balance, we simply wanted people to realise that there are also potential down sides, especially for Babergh residents.”

She said that one example is that council tax in Babergh will increase, while in Mid Suffolk it will come down.

But Cllr Derrick Haley, deputy leader of Mid Suffolk District Council, said everyone must vote in favour of the merger: “Everybody should vote in any election, it’s most important people vote and the vote has to be yes because if we don’t go ahead there will be some serious implications of how we continue to work and how we are to solve the financial situation.”

The full merger will only go ahead if more than 50 per cent in each district vote in favour of it - a single district council would then be likely to be created from April 2013.