Suffolk

Thousands vote in Suffolk district councils merger poll

More than 42,000 residents in two Suffolk districts have already voted in a four-week poll asking if two local authorities should merge.

People in Babergh and Mid Suffolk are being asked if the two councils should be replaced by one authority.

So far nearly 30% of people eligible to vote have done so.

Voters in the independent poll, which began on 9 May and will close on 6 June, can register their preference by post, phone, text or online.

If more than 50% of respondents vote yes, the Local Government Boundary Commission for England will carry out a review and make recommendations to the Secretary of State.

Unique proposal

If approval is given, the two authorities would merge to form one new single district council from April 2013.

If more than 50% or respondents vote no, the councils will continue to integrate services but will remain as separate authorities, under the leadership of a new single chief executive.

According to the councils, a single authority could save £1.8m a year.

Tim Passmore, leader of Mid Suffolk District Council, said: "We need to know what the people of central and south Suffolk think, so I am urging everyone entitled to vote to make sure their voice is heard."

Jennie Jenkins, chairman of Babergh's strategy committee, said: "We believe this is the first time in the UK that two existing district councils have agreed in principle to press ahead with their own abolition and replacement with a new authority.

"But the decision is in the hands of the residents of Babergh and Mid Suffolk and I urge everyone to return their vote."

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