Suffolk Coastal District Council looking to cut councillors

Port of Felixstowe cranes
Image caption Suffolk Coastal stretches from the Port of Felixstowe to Walberswick further north

One of Suffolk's local authorities is considering reducing the number of its councillors by 15.

Suffolk Coastal District Council has 55 members and plans from the ruling Conservatives could see that reduced to 40.

Ray Herring, council leader, said: "It would free up potential savings of up to £100,000 a year."

If the cabinet agrees, the proposal will be sent to the Local Government Boundary Commission for England.

The commission would then review the idea in time for the 2015 elections.

Suffolk Coastal, which stretches from Felixstowe to Walberswick, has 34 wards and their boundaries are also due to be reviewed.

The council's net budget for last year was £15m and it has agreed to save £2m from its budget for 2012-13 following a cut in its government grant of 30%.


Mr Herring said they had a policy of not increasing the council tax and it was a good time to look at the number of councillors it needed.

He said: "There are pressures on council tax and we do not have the sort of officer resource to support all the committees which we had 20 years ago.

"Our cabinet has made us speedier, more efficient and business-like in making decisions, new technology has made councillors more accessible, while the localism agenda will inevitably give town and parish councils a stronger local voice."

Tony Cooper, an independent councillor for Leiston, said: "I'd be very upset if I lost a seat simply because one party was deciding to make it smaller.

"We've got a cabinet who make the majority of the decisions.

"I wonder whether they want to reduce the numbers to make it more of a dictatorship where you don't have any say."

Mr Herring said: "I think 55 is quite a generous number at the moment, and there would still be effective democratic representation with around 40."

The cabinet will votes on the proposal at its meeting on 26 January.

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