Councils support office relocation

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A report proposing that Mid Suffolk and Babergh district councils move their offices to Ipswich has been supported in principle.

A spokesman for the two authorities, which already share some services, said a “hub and spokes” model had been selected as the preferred option, which would see an administrative hub in Ipswich but services deployed in the main towns within the districts.

In the report – produced by the council’s strategic director, Andrew Hurkin – this is just one of the proposed solutions to cutting the excess cost and inefficiencies resulting from the two councils working across separate buildings.

The proposal was discussed by Babergh’s strategy committee on Thursday, when councillors approved the report in principal, moving it forward to the next stage of investigation.

Similarly, councillors at Mid Suffolk’s executive committee backed the plans.

Further inquiries will begin into developing the proposed idea, before going back to the committees for further discussion.

Babergh district councillor Simon Barrett, who sits on the strategy committee, said the plans were still at an early stage, adding that councillors supported the idea of creating a “hub” in the Ipswich fringe area.

“There is no point in us moving for the sake of it – it has to be based on evidence,” he said.

“At the moment, we are in a very difficult position because we have two big offices that support half the number of staff we used to have.”

But not all of the members of the strategy committee were in agreement, with councillor Tony Bavington opposing the move.

Since the report was released, town council members have also raised concern about the public having difficulty accessing services if the move to Ipswich goes ahead.

At a Sudbury Town Council meeting, deputy mayor Jack Owen said members of the public in Sudbury need to be able to reach certain support services – and could struggle to do so if they have to travel to Ipswich.