Suffolk Coastal and Waveney councils approve merge

Suffolk Coastal and Waveney District Councils have signed an agreement to formally merge services to create a new ‘super district’ council, the first time two district councils have merged since 1974.

If the plans are approved by the Department of Communities and Local Government, council leaders have said the agreement would prove ‘historic’, and the first of its kind since the local government re-organisation in 1974.

Suffolk Coastal approved the proposals at a full council meeting on Thursday 26 January, a day after Waveney councillors voted in favour of the merger.

Commenting on the move, councillor Ray Herring, leader of Suffolk Coastal District Council, said: “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 £16 million 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.”

Councillor Colin Law, Leader of Waveney District Council 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.”

If approved, the two councils will then be formally dissolved with elections to the new authority in May 2019.