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Lowestoft to stay in Suffolk

PUBLISHED: 10:31 20 March 2009 | UPDATED: 08:03 01 August 2010

COUNCIL leaders in Suffolk welcomed a U-turn to keep Lowestoft in the county - but had mixed views on the proposals to shake up local government.

Like Norfolk, the Boundary Committee is proposing two options for the county.

COUNCIL leaders in Suffolk welcomed a U-turn to keep Lowestoft in the county - but had mixed views on the proposals to shake up local government.

Like Norfolk, the Boundary Committee is proposing two options for the county. These are:

A single Suffolk super council.

A two-council option based on a new Ipswich and Felixstowe council, and a rural Suffolk authority for the rest of the county.

And there was delight that the committee had dropped plans to put Lowestoft in with Norfolk.

Lowestoft mayor Frank Mortimer said, who led a march through Lowestoft demanding that the town remains in Suffolk, said he was delighted at the news.

“The Boundary Committee has realised that moving it in to Norfolk would be a ridiculous idea, and it is only a shame that they didn't realise this sooner and save a lot of time and money in the process,” he said.

James Bulstrode, manager of Coes menswear shop in the town, who sold flags and bunting of Suffolk's patron Saint Edmund in support of the campaign, said common sense had prevailed.

Jeremy Pembroke, leader of Suffolk County Council, said the authority would continue to lobby for the super council option.

“We are delighted that the Boundary Committee listened to the very clear message that Lowestoft is a valued part of our county, and will remain so,” he said. “Suffolk County Council remains firmly committed to the single unitary option for the whole county, because this is the right option to protect the future of vital services in our county. In fact, 'one Suffolk' is now given equal mention in the new consultation proposals.”

Tim Passmore, leader of Mid Suffolk District Council said: “I am absolutely thrilled that the Boundary Committee has listened to what people in Suffolk have said.

“The residents in Lowestoft wanted to remain in Suffolk and that is what will happen. People from across Suffolk have shown their support for the One Suffolk proposal, and that is what the Boundary Committee has put forward for further consultation. Having lived in Suffolk all my life, I'm passionate about keeping Suffolk whole.”

But the leaders of three district councils accused the committee of ignoring the views of local people by failing to include the three-unitary East, West and Greater Ipswich option in its latest proposals for changing local government in

Suffolk. In a joint statement, Mark Bee, leader of Waveney District Council, John Griffiths, leader of St Edmundsbury Borough Council and Geoffrey Jaggard, leader of Forest Heath District Council said: “It has always been clear moving Lowestoft in to Norfolk was a ridiculous idea and the Boundary Committee has finally wised up to that.

“However, we are shocked that in the face of clear public support for the inclusion of our proposals, the Boundary Committee has brazenly ignored the public's desire for a proper consultation on a local government system which would be focused on areas each with their own, very different identities and economies.”

Ray Herring, leader of Suffolk Coastal District Council, said: “This has really turned into a farce and a complete waste of time. It is blatantly obvious from all the comments made by government ministers in recent months that they will not support what the Boundary Committee is proposing, which is why they were given more time. It has taken them three months to come up their new big idea - keep Lowestoft in Suffolk - when it was only the Boundary Committee who had ever thought of exporting Lowestoft to Norfolk, and even they had changed their minds about it last year.”

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