New West Suffolk council to have 11% fewer councillors

The latest council news: only in the Newmarket Journal
The latest council news: only in the Newmarket Journal
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Proposals to create a unified West Suffolk council would see an 11 per cent reduction in the number of councillors, meaning each council member would represent several hundred more people than they do now.

The proposed new council would have 64 elected members to represent the almost 200,000 people the government expect to be living in the area when the council is formed in 2019. Currently, Forest Heath has 27 councillors with 45 at St Edmundsbury Council, a total of 72.

A council spokesman said: “It’s about finding the right number for West Suffolk, which we think is 64. Large enough to be efficient, but small enough to be local.”

The spokesman said that regardless of the creation of the new authority, the Boundary Commission was likely to reduce the number of councillors.

The proposals, which would see Forest Heath District Council and St Edmundsbury Borough Council merge, were approved by both authorities last month.

The new council would have its first elections in May 2019 providing the Department for Communities and Local Government, and Parliament approve the plans.