On 7 November and 30 November respectively I told the House that I was minded to implement, subject to Parliamentary approval, locally-supported proposals I had received from the respective councils to merge district councils in East Suffolk and in West Suffolk, and I invited representations before I took my final decisions on these proposals.
Having carefully considered all the representations I have received and all the relevant information available to me, I am today announcing that I have decided to implement, subject to Parliamentary approval, both proposals – that is to merge Suffolk Coastal and Waveney district councils to become a new single district council named East Suffolk, and to merge Forest Heath District Council and St Edmundsbury Borough Council to become a new single district council named West Suffolk.
I have reached my decisions having regard to the criteria for district council mergers I announced to the House on 7 November. I am satisfied that these criteria are met and that both new district councils are likely to improve local government and service delivery in their areas, command a good deal of local support, and that each council area is a credible geography.
I now intend to prepare and lay before Parliament drafts of the necessary secondary legislation to give effect to my decisions. My intention is that if Parliament approves this legislation the new councils will be established on 1 April 2019 with the first elections to the councils held on 2 May 2019.