Mark Bee: New ‘super district’ council to bring long-term savings

Leader of Waveney District Council Mark Bee.

Leader of Waveney District Council Mark Bee. - Credit: Ashley Pickering

The Waveney District Council leader discusses the interest in the council's new signs.

The Waveney District Council leader discusses the interest in the council's new signs.

We are now incredibly close to the start of the new East Suffolk Council. We made a genuinely exciting and progressive decision to merge Waveney and Suffolk Coastal and April 1 will come round very quickly.

There is a lot of work going in to creating the new organisation and there are some things that simply have to be achieved. Like changing the signs.

Waveney and Suffolk Coastal will no longer exist and therefore we obviously cannot continue with the same signage on buildings and vehicles. We are not simply changing our name; we are creating a brand new organisation for the whole of east Suffolk from Lowestoft in the north to Felixstowe in the south.

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One of the main reasons for creating the new East Suffolk Council is so that we can continue to deliver outstanding services to people who need them most – and saving money has been at the heart of this.

Waveney and Suffolk Coastal have been working together, streamlining operations and reducing costs, while providing high quality frontline services for over 10 years now and in that time we have made efficiency savings of over £22m.

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Therefore any concerns about the costs relating to creating the new organisation need to be balanced against the money that we have actually been saving since 2008 – and £20,000 to make necessary changes is incredibly small in relation to over £20 million-worth of savings achieved so far.

Additionally, the cost of this process is being carefully managed, with stickers to be used on a great proportion of signs for now and others only being replaced when required through natural wear and tear.

We are incredibly pleased with the work achieved to date to save money and this will continue. We are reducing the number of councillors from 90 across the two authorities to 55 and we will always work hard to ensure we protect the public purse and put our communities and services first.

We hope therefore that where there are small costs associated with creating the new council, people understand that it is a tiny fraction of the money we have been saving overall and will continue to save.

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