Two become one? St Edmundsbury and Forest Heath look to form single council

West Suffolk House, in Bury St Edmunds.' Picture by Mark Westley.

St Edmundsbury Borough and Forest Heath District Councils are looking to create a single authority for west Suffolk.

Leaders John Griffiths and James Waters say it is a ‘logical step forward’ as the two authorities already share the majority of their services.

James Waters and John Griffiths, leaders of Forest Heath District and St Edmundsbury Borough Councils

Announcing the plans this morning, they said a single council would strengthen their ability to deliver services in an era of reduced public funding while encouraging growth, jobs and support for local communities.

Cllr Griffiths, leader of St Edmundsbury, said: “We already work closely but this could enable us to be both stronger together and more fleet of foot, to grasp commercial opportunities to further benefit our communities, deliver housing and talk to big business and Government.

“At the same time we would remain small enough to actually deliver the real initiatives in west Suffolk that are vital.”

Cllr Waters, leader of Forest Heath, added: “We are an attractive area to live in and for developers and business to invest in - uniquely positioned with good networks and are an internationally renowned area with a range of industries from racing to high-tech to agriculture.

“Residents do not care what logo is on their bin but that we continue to empty them in the most cost effective way.

“At the same time they want us to fight their corner nationally to make sure we get the best deal from Government.”

Initially the cabinet of both councils will have to agree to proposals going forward which would then need to be agreed by each full council.

If agreed, the councils would be looking to create the single authority by 2019.

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