Joint cabinet meeting back plans for single West Suffolk council

A SPECIAL joint cabinet meeting of two West Suffolk councils has unanimously backed proposals to create a single authority for the area.

The leaders Forest Health District Council and St Edmundsbury Borough Council devised the plan, arguing a single authority would be more financially resilient, have a unified strategic vision for the whole area and would have a stronger voice to lobby Government and attract  investment.   

The two authorities already share a number of services, saving around £4m a year.

Approval from the two cabinets means officers will now examine the preferred option of creating a single council against the alternatives and will develop a business case for members to consider. A steering group of councillors will also be set up to examine potential issues that need to be resolved.

"A single council could give us the opportunity to not only be a stronger unified voice to champion our area but still remain small enough to find local tailored solutions with residents, groups and parish councils with your local member at the forefront," said Forest Heath leader Cllr James Waters.

Cllr John Griffiths, leader of St Edmundsbury Borough Council, added: "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. They want us to be forward-thinking and not let structure get in the way of providing jobs, opportunity and continued vibrant communities."

The plans will now go before each full council for approval.