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'A new dawn': 'Super district' council for east Suffolk to be unveiled

PUBLISHED: 15:03 27 March 2019 | UPDATED: 15:10 27 March 2019

A photograph for a historic occasion - all Waveney District councillors ahead of the final ever Waveney District Council meeting. Picture: Waveney District Council

A photograph for a historic occasion - all Waveney District councillors ahead of the final ever Waveney District Council meeting. Picture: Waveney District Council

Archant

It was hailed as a momentous switch 45 years ago.

Farewells at the final Waveney DC meeting from: Deanna Law - former councillor and wife of the late council leader Colin Law; Cllr Mark Bee - Leader; Cllr Frank Mortimer - Chairman; Cllr Mike Barnard - a member in both 1974 and 2019 and Stella Bostock - former Leader. Picture: Waveney District CouncilFarewells at the final Waveney DC meeting from: Deanna Law - former councillor and wife of the late council leader Colin Law; Cllr Mark Bee - Leader; Cllr Frank Mortimer - Chairman; Cllr Mike Barnard - a member in both 1974 and 2019 and Stella Bostock - former Leader. Picture: Waveney District Council

Local democracy changed as former municipal boroughs became Waveney District following the local government reorganisation.

The district council was formed on April 1, 1974 as a merger of the municipal boroughs of Beccles, Lowestoft and Southwold, along with the Bungay and Halesworth urban districts, Wainford rural district and part of Lothingland rural district.

The logo for East Suffolk Council. Photo: Waveney District Council.The logo for East Suffolk Council. Photo: Waveney District Council.

But next week a new ‘super district’ council will be unveiled as part of another historic change.

On Monday, April 1 Waveney District Council and Suffolk Coastal District Council will no longer exist and a new organisation – East Suffolk Council – will take its place.

Speaking at the final Waveney District Council meeting last week, council chairman Frank Mortimer called it “a momentous occasion”. In submitting a notice of motion, leader Mark Bee said: “Waveney District Council has been in existence since 1974 and during that time members and officers have worked hard for the council and the communities of Waveney.

“I would therefore like to put on record my thanks to all members and officers, past and present, for their hard work and commitment over the last 45 years.”

The creation of the new council is the culmination of an 11-year journey for Suffolk Coastal and Waveney, which began with the appointment of Stephen Baker as joint chief executive in 2008 and has led to revenue savings of more than £22.5 million being secured.

At last week’s meeting, Mr Bee reflected on the past 45 years. He said: “Serving the community has always been our message and I hope we have been seen to live up to this.”

Cllr Mike Barnard and former council leader Stella Bostock attended the final meeting last week – having both been a part of the very first council meeting in April 1974.

They were congratulated on the night, and Mr Barnard reflected on the change back then – similar to the momentous change that the council is going through now.

He said: “It has been part of my life for many years and I will miss it”.

Waveney’s Labour group leader, Peter Byatt, said: “We are on the brink of a new dawn and I would like to say thank you councillors and officers.

“Working together, accountability and transparency is incredibly important for our communities.”

Leader of the Independent councillors, Stephen Ardley, said: “When there is a goal for our communities, councillors of all parties come together to deliver.

“I wish the new council well.”

Green Party councillor Graham Elliott said he was “incredibly grateful for the support from officers,” particularly as a single representative of a party on the council.

■ The new East Suffolk Council has a new phone number – 03330 162 000 – which is now live and covers all of East Suffolk.

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