10 January 2018 to 12 February 2018: Engagement with local communities to understand the important considerations in their local area (for example which parishes work closely together, ‘natural' boundaries). The survey is available at: www.westsuffolk.gov.uk/electoralreview
It appears ward size may be set at 2,000 electors - Stanton currently has 2,227 electors on the roll!
February 2018 to March 2018: Councils analyse responses to the survey and draft potential options for warding
March 2018: Engagement on the councils draft ward proposals
Early April 2018: Councils consider feedback and update ward proposals
April 2018: The final Council proposals are considered by Forest Heath and St Edmundsbury councils. These may not be final proposals and could form a range of options if we feel it more appropriate to do so. Proposals submitted to the Department for Communities and Local Government
Summer 2018: If an Order to create West Suffolk Council is issued, LGBCE will then meet to consider the draft proposals put forward by the Councils and any other people who wish to make submissions. The LGBCE will then put forward a draft proposal themselves, and submit this for public consultation throughout the summer. Final patterns will be published in October for consideration by Parliament.
A new council would entirely replace the borough and district council but continue to deliver the same services. Already both councils successfully share services, for example collecting your bins or ensuring people can access the right housing - saving local taxpayers £4 million every year. We now want to look to build on these successes to bring about even more benefits and continue to invest even more into supporting our communities under a new single council.
A single council would allow us to better:
It would mean the council is the right size to still deliver local and tailored solutions but also have a large and unified voice to champion the aspirations of our communities nationally and to attract new businesses.
In addition the new council could bring savings and efficiencies totalling around £800,000 every year. We also want to reassure you that services would continue and these savings and efficiencies would not be through cuts but through not needing double the amount of things we have now or increasing our capacity to do more.
Councillors agreed the business case should be looked at and a period of engagement held on its recommendations.
Since May we have been talking to our community and partners about the proposals including a period of engagement for people to find out about the plans and have their say. This has included contacting partners, businesses and local organisations as well as a dedicated web page where people could make their views known.
A cross party councillor steering group has been set up to look at various issues to also help inform any proposals going forward. This includes the number of councillors the new council would have. We have also set up a page to help answer some of the common questions
One of the first steps in the journey to creating a single District Council for West Suffolk will be creating a new district-level warding structure for West Suffolk. This process will form the electoral review before elections to the new Council in May 2019. The warding review will not affect the external boundaries of either what is currently Forest Heath or St Edmundsbury, nor will it affect the external boundaries of any parish or town. Indeed, it will use the current parish and town boundaries as the building blocks to create the district-level wards. The Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) is responsible for setting the ward boundaries for a new council and we and our communities will have an opportunity to shape the LGBCE proposals.