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Panellists finalised for public debate on proposed district council merger

Suffolk County Council's headquarters at Endeavour House, Ipswich
Suffolk County Council's headquarters at Endeavour House, Ipswich

A full line-up of councillors has been confirmed for next month’s public debate event on the proposed merger of Babergh and Mid Suffolk district councils into a single authority.

Attendees will be encouraged to give their views on the proposed merger and ask questions to the panellists, which includes district councillors on both sides of the argument.

Chaired independently by Peter Thorogood, the panel will be comprised of Babergh’s Conservative leader John Ward, Labour councillor Luke Cresswell (Sudbury), Liberal Democrat councillor Bryn Hurren (Boxford), independent councillor John Nunn (Long Melford), Conservative councillor Sian Dawson (Hadleigh) and independent Conservative Alan Ferguson (Cosford).

Mr Cresswell, a vocal opponent of the merger proposal, who organised the meeting, said: “I have ensured this public meeting is balanced and fair to all political groups, with councillors from a variety of locations.

“I want an honest discussion about the council merger proposal and the important thing is residents get answers and have an opportunity to give their views.

“So far, all residents have had are false promises, propaganda and a lack of proper engagement.

“We need a real two-way discussion with residents.

“I think the council leadership will soon realise that you can’t just tell people what to think. Babergh residents will make their own mind up.”

This comes after last week’s announcement of the results of a recent telephone poll of 4,000 residents, which found that 54 per cent of Babergh respondents and 69 per cent of Mid Suffolk respondents were in favour of the merger.

However, critics have accused the survey of being biased and using leading questions – a claim denied by the research company which administered the poll.

The meeting will take place in All Saints’ Church Hall in Sudbury on April 25 from 7pm.

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