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Survey finds most back another Suffolk district merger

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More than 60% of residents surveyed have said they are in favour of merging Babergh and Mid Suffolk DCs, according to a new report.

The councils commissioned market research firm ComRes to survey 4,000 residents - 2,000 from each district - in a telephone survey between 24 October 2017 and 6 February 2018.

Babergh DC leader John Ward (Con) said: “This independent telephone survey, which asked a representative sample of the local population, shows that seven years on from the previous referendum on this issue, more people in Babergh are now in favour of the creation of a single council than those who are not.

“Residents are clear that we should be prioritising financial stability and providing better local services that are more tailored to the needs of our residents. Dissolving Babergh and Mid Suffolk to create a new single district council will ensure we can deliver what our residents want.”

The survey found that just over half of respondents in Babergh were in favour of a single council, compared with 69% in Mid Suffolk. ComRes reported that 35% of Babergh residents and 22% of Mid Suffolk residents disagreed with the proposal.

The survey also found that 70% of respondents were aware of the political desire to merge the two districts, while 57% “knew a little or a lot about it”.

Leader of Mid Suffolk DC Nick Gowrley (Con) said: “Our residents have spoken and they are clear what they want us to do, now is the time to put this to the secretary of state and make this a reality.”

LGC reported last year how a similar proposal to merge the two districts was mooted in 2011. A referendum showed 60% of Mid Suffolk’s residents were in favour but 61% of Babergh’s opposed it.

Housing and communities secretary Sajid Javid has already backed the merger of Suffolk Coastal and Waveney DCs to form a single East Suffolk DC, and the separate merger of Forest Heath DC and St Edmundsbury BC to create West Suffolk DC.

 

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