Page last updated at 16:52 GMT, Wednesday, 8 April 2009 17:52 UK

Group wants unitary plan scrapped

Map showing authority boundaries
Suffolk Preservation Society wants all unitary schemes scrapped

A restructure of local government in Suffolk could cause controversy as each council jostles for position as the key player, a campaign group claims.

The Suffolk Preservation Society calls for the Boundary Committee's proposals for unitary councils to be scrapped.

The structure should instead be "fine-tuned" to improve services, they said.

The Boundary Committee said it was still seeking views on both proposals and also the £41.2m costs of the restructure revealed recently.

The campaign group has claimed the wish of many residents to maintain the status quo had been overlooked.

We still haven't actually been asked whether or not we want a unitary authority in Suffolk
Suffolk Preservation Society

"While nobody would claim that the existing system of local government in Suffolk is perfect, it doesn't need total replacement to make it more effective and efficient," said Richard Ward, society director.

"However for some bizarre reason, the option to simply fine-tune the system we already have in place seems to have been ruled out.

"During the last consultation, many of those who responded expressed a desire for the existing structure of local government to be retained and improved.

"We find it astonishing that absolutely no reference is made to that groundswell of public opinion in the current consultation report."

Draft proposals

He suggested the decision indicated the consultation had been "pointless".

"On top of that, we still haven't actually been asked whether or not we want a unitary authority in Suffolk, yet it seems the Boundary Committee is determined to force the change on us - regardless of what local people think," he added.

The Boundary Committee has recently published estimated costs of changing the structure.

A spokeswoman for the organisation said: "The Boundary Committee was asked by the Secretary of State to provide recommendations of possible unitary patterns for Suffolk, not comment on the existing two-tier structure.

"It is then up to her to review any such recommendations and make a decision about what, if any, changes are made to local government in Suffolk.

"The committee has been, and continues to, consult widely with Suffolk residents on what we are proposing.

"We want to know what they think of the further draft recommendations and, just as importantly, why they think this."



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SEE ALSO
Unitary structure costs revealed
27 Mar 09 |  Norfolk
Court rules on unitary proposals
25 Mar 09 |  England
Councils claim restructure snub
19 Jan 09 |  Suffolk
Three council structure proposed
23 Sep 08 |  Suffolk
Planned unitary 'remote' concern
04 Sep 08 |  Suffolk
Q&A: Local council reforms
08 Feb 06 |  UK Politics

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