Residents, businesses and local groups are being reminded to help shape the future of West Suffolk and have their say on plans to create a new council.
Both Forest Heath District and St Edmundsbury Borough Councils have agreed to look at the creation of a new single council for West Suffolk.
People have until the end of August to have their say on the proposals. They can find out more and make their views known at http:www.westsuffolk.gov.uk/singlecouncil
The draft business case suggests it could better drive jobs, deliver services and continue investment to support local communities. In addition it would generate around £800,000 in savings and efficiencies.
At the same time a new council could also better meet the challenges facing communities, such as increased population, demand on health care and housing as well as reduced funding nationally.
A new council would entirely replace the borough and district council but continue to deliver the same services.
Already both councils successfully share services, for example collecting bins or ensuring people can access the right housing – saving local taxpayers £4 million every year.
Both councils are now looking to build on these successes to bring about even more benefits and continue to invest even more into supporting communities under a new single council.
More information on what is being proposed can be found at www.westsuffolk.gov/singlecouncil where people can also have their say online. A proportionally representative phone poll has also been carried out and both councils are engaging with local groups, businesses and partners about the proposals. People can also e-mail their views to firstname.lastname@example.org This feedback will help inform the debate the councillors will be having in September.
A draft business case has been developed and both councils have agreed to look in September at whether to take this forward and inform Government of their decision.
Forest Heath District councillor James Waters, said: “Doing what is right for our communities is at the heart of what we do and the business case is clear there are real benefits to be had. A new single council would put us in a much better position to drive jobs, manage growth and face the financial challenges we face.
“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 heart of supporting this. Our communities want to make sure we are constantly looking to improve and transform the way we work. Now we want to hear the views of our communities and businesses to help us inform the debate we will be having in September and shape the business plan.”
St Edmundsbury Borough Council Leader, councillor John Griffiths, said: “Creating a new single council will give us a better ability to drive the local economy, jobs and prosperity for the communities and businesses we serve.
“Now we want to engage with the public, business and local partners as well as look at the issues in more detail. We have shown sharing services works and has been saving our council tax payers £4 million every year to help us invest in our communities, deliver high quality services while facing reduced national funding. That has given us the firm financial footing and now a golden opportunity to look at how to even better meet future challenges.
“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 investment in our vibrant communities.”