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Final hurdle for creation of England's largest district

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Suffolk Coastal and Waveney DCs have agreed to merge to create England’s largest district.

Both cabinets approved the plan Monday night after a public consultation and final endorsement is expect at Waveney’s and Suffolk Coastal’s respective full council meetings on Wednesday and Thursday this week.

The new district, East Suffolk, would have a population of some 241,000, which is more than the current largest - 222,000 represented by Northampton BC.

Subject to government approval, East Suffolk is expected to come into being in 2019 although the name has been in use over the past year.

Suffolk Coastal and Waveney have shared chief executive Stephen Baker since 2008 and subsequently most staff and services.

The arrangement originally began after a series of financial problems in the latter, culminating in an aborted property deal with an institute for fish research.

Between them, the councils have said they have saved some £16m from efficiencies since they began their partnership and now think their merger plan will deliver an additional £1.3m a year.

Elsewhere in Suffolk, Forest Heath DC and St Edmundsbury BC operate jointly under the name West Suffolk but have not announced any merger plans. Babergh and Mid Suffolk DCs also share a chief executive and most services.

This week proposals for a five-council merger in Kent emerged, while Taunton Deane BC and West Somerset DC are consulting on a merger that followed from financial problems in the latter.

Adur DC and Worthing BC have long worked on a shared staff and services basis, though have not formally merged.






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