Civic leadership a hot topic in setting up new West Suffolk Council

Looking at civic leadership will be one of the first priorities in setting up the new West Suffolk Council.

The Leaders of both Forest Heath District and St Edmundsbury Borough Councils have asked that the new Shadow Authority at its first meeting look at setting up a Working Group to consider this important topic.

The Shadow Authority must meet 14 days after the orders for the new West Suffolk Council are agreed.

This group will look at the wider issue of the role of civic leadership for the new council and its members, including whether to apply for borough status and have a chair or mayor.

In creating a new council the current borough status in St Edmundsbury stops but both councils made sure that within the orders going through Parliament this could be applied for.

This was the same in 1974 when St Edmundsbury Borough Council was created and the status applied for. The law does not allow for the status just to continue.

In a joint statement councillor John Griffiths, leader of St Edmundsbury Borough Council and councillor James Waters, leader of Forest Heath District Council, said: “As part of the work to create a new West Suffolk Council a decision is required on whether the new council will be a district, or whether it would apply to the Privy Council to be made into a borough.

“This is a fundamental matter of what civic leadership will look and feel like in West Suffolk in the future and it is important that we take the opportunity to have a review to inform the decision. We have consulted with colleagues from both councils and will be recommending that the new Shadow Council, when it holds its first meeting in the next few weeks, seeks to set up a Civic Leadership Working Group to consider this important topic.

“The Working Group will look at civic leadership across the whole of West Suffolk and will be working with all our members and our communities to understand their views.”

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