Should Babergh District council move their offices to Endeavour House in Ipswich?

endeavour_house.jpgBabergh District Council are proposing moving thier headquarters to Endeavour House in Ipswich.

One of our members Liz Perryman has set up an online petion opposing this move.

To sign the petion please go to https://www.change.org/p/jennie-jenkins-local-council-consultation-with-residents-and-businesses or click here

 

  • Dear Mrs. Jenkins, I am writing to ask if you could explain the decision that has been made and to ask for an explanation as to how you came about this choice of proposal. It is a terrible thing when a Council decides on the future for people without actually consulting them. I know decisions are made every day but this is going to affect ALL people who live and work in the Babergh and Mid Suffolk Districts. It has just been reported in the local newspaper that the option for Babergh (Based in Hadleigh, Suffolk) and Mid Suffolk (Based in Needham Market) is that they are going to merge, against the referendum taken 5 years ago when 90% of people concerned voted against it. Also as they will merge they will move to Ipswich council Offices!

To do this without consultation or even mentioning it to people in the areas is downright rude and disrespectful, it is not a local position for either Councils and it definitely will take away their identity and sovereignty which is just blatant disregard to the referendum held. Residents both house owners and Tenants will no longer have any confidence in anything the Council proposes and neither will businesses. Council tax will rise and rents too, so that all will be the same. This is not just a money saving plan, it is also a political move to make sure that we are united for the government devolution with Norfolk which again no one wants. 

When Babergh and Mid Suffolk joined to work together in the housing sector we were promised faithfully that there would never be a merger, well it seems there is now! It is wrong and I am so against this that I urge people to think long and hard about it. I live in Babergh and am very proud of our heritage and our District Council, please don't lose it in the mill of bureaucracy and power trading. Jobs and peoples lives are at risk.

This has only become public knowledge now through the East Anglian Daily Times newspaper quoted below:   

'Just days after it was confirmed that Suffolk Coastal and Waveney are planning for a full merger, political leaders from Babergh and Mid Suffolk have said their authorities should move into Suffolk County Council’s Endeavour House headquarters in Ipswich.

This is the “preferred option” of the Conservative groups running the two districts – and has been revealed in a confidential letter to councillors which the EADT has seen.

The letter, sent out yesterday, says: “Following discussion at last night’s meeting, attendees took the view that the ‘in principle’ preferred option would be to move out of our Needham Market and Hadleigh buildings, allowing these to be regenerated, and move into Endeavour House in Ipswich, creating a Public Service Village alongside Suffolk County Council colleagues and opposite Ipswich Borough Council and the Shared Revenues Partnership.

“A paper to this effect will be brought to the Executive meetings in September for consideration.”

The shared revenues partnership is the department that sends out council tax bills and collects money for Ipswich council and the two districts.

Other parts of the letter make it clear that staff will be working closely with other public sector employees. The two districts, which share a common administration, do not currently have a chief executive.

This will inevitably lead to speculation that a move to Endeavour House could be accompanied by a merger of a number of services, under the leadership of county chief executive Deborah Cadman.

A move to Endeavour House would mean the district councils’ HQs would be outside their areas, but the letter to councillors seeks to reassure them about continued localness: “Babergh and Mid Suffolk are developing a hub, spoke and landing point model. The landing points will be our bases in the district, providing space for co-location of services with other public sector partners, space for flexible workers or field staff to hot desk or meet customers, space for Members to hold meetings and for people to access some of our services.

“The spokes are our thread out into communities either from our hub (headquarters) or from a landing point.”

Babergh council leader Jennie Jenkins insisted the proposal to move into Endeavour House was not yet decided: “There are still a number of options open to us, of which this is one.”

She said the two councils were still in a recruitment process for a new chief executive after Charlie Adan moves to the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames in south London next month.

There were no plans to share a chief executive with the county council.

However with local government devolution on the horizon,and with councils remaining under pressure to save money, there will be inevitable speculation about the future shape of local government across Suffolk.

The current structure was introduced in 1974. There have been a number of attempts to change it - a single unitary council for the whole of Suffolk has been suggested in the past - but nothing has actually altered.

The news about the proposed move has caused alarm among other councillors who were not at the Conservative groups’ meeting on Tuesday.

Green group councillor Rachel Eburne said she would seeking to get the decision discussed by the joint scrutiny committee of the councils.

She said: “It looks to me as if this decision has been made by one political group with no explanation of costs or the reasons behind it. It is a behind-closed-doors decision that flies in the face of open government.”

Thank you for reading my letter and look forward to hearing your reply

Yours Sincerely

Elizabeth E. Perryman

 

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