Pioneering merger of Suffolk Coastal and Waveney likely to be copied across country

Suffolk Coastal leader Ray Herring and Waveney leader Colin Law shake hands after both district coun

Suffolk Coastal leader Ray Herring and Waveney leader Colin Law shake hands after both district councils agreed to merge to form the largest district in the country. PHOTO: Contributed - Credit: Archant

Community leaders in east Suffolk expect others to follow suit after formally agreeing to merge two councils to create a 'super district', the largest in the country

East Suffolk House at Riduna Park, Melton - home of Suffolk Coastal District Council. Picture: RUTH

East Suffolk House at Riduna Park, Melton - home of Suffolk Coastal District Council. Picture: RUTH LEACH

The move has been hailed as an 'historic decision' and will save taxpayers millions of pounds in the years ahead, safeguarding under-threat services.

Suffolk Coastal and Waveney district councils expect to receive Government ratification in September. The authorities will be dissolved with elections to the new East Suffolk council in 2019.

Ray Herring, leader of Suffolk Coastal, said: 'This is a historic day for local government, for Suffolk and, most importantly, the communities we serve. By creating a new, larger and more influential council, we will be able to keep costs down, enabling us to maintain and improve the services that local people depend on.

'Working in partnership has already helped the councils save over £16m since 2010. However, further savings cannot be made unless the partnership progresses further. A new, merged, council will be better placed to address the shared challenges that both councils face.'


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Waveney leader Colin Law said: 'Our councils have made history today and I could not be more delighted. We already have a joint 'East Suffolk Business Plan' which sets out our vision for the future of the area and a new council is a natural development reflecting important, shared similarities and challenges.

'This decision will enable us to withstand significant reductions in central Government funding for councils and better address key issues such as the need for investment in growth and infrastructure projects and increasing housing demand and costs.'

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Stephen Baker, chief executive for the two councils, said: 'The challenge facing local government throughout the country is the need and desire to deliver the best possible services for local people in an increasingly challenging economic environment.

'At Suffolk Coastal and Waveney we have always sought to innovate and tackle these challenges head on. This is another excellent example of how we have taken a lead and made a progressive decision which we have no doubt will be watched and followed by other councils.'

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