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Councillor in call for breakaway

By Stephen Blease on Thursday, 8th June 2000.

HAVERHILL’S newest councillor says he wants the town to break away from St Edmundsbury borough and become a separate district in its own right.
Mabon Dane, elected to the town council for the Chalkstone ward, says Haverhill ought to be granted independence from Bury St Edmunds, where he feels the interests of the town are not understood or represented, and become a new district council area within Suffolk.
Mr Dane, 29, said that during his election campaign he met many townspeople who agreed with him, and he hoped he could persuade some of his fellow town councillors to support the plan as well.
He said: “We in Haverhill have grown large enough to start running our own affairs. Bury St Edmunds is more than 20 miles away and governs a very large area. We are right on the edge of it. They cannot really identify with us.
“We need a council with a smaller area, controlled by people who know the area better. I have always believed that small is beautiful.”
A review of local government in the east of England is due later this year or early next year, and Mr Dane said this would offer the chance to create a separate district council area for Haverhill.
“I would like us to have a case ready to put forward in time,” he said.
A spokesman for the town council said it would look at the possibilities open to it, but warned a new district council might mean an increase in Council Tax.
The spokesman said: “The taking on of additional services would mean an increase in local costs that may not be compensated by the reduction in the costs of other authorities.
“The town council already works in partnership with other authorities and voluntary organisations.”
Mr Dane, an independent candidate, was elected after polling 290 votes to beat the Labour Party’s Angela Giles, who polled 210.
He is the only independent councillor on the 16-strong town council. All the other 15 members are Labour.
Turnout in the by-election was 10.5 per cent, with 4,600 people eligible to vote but only 500 votes cast. However, elections manager Alex Wilson said it was a typical turnout for a town council by-election.
“We had a February by-election and the turnout was only around six per cent,” he said. “Historically, the turnout in by-elections is always lower than in scheduled elections — in some parts of the country it is only one or two per cent.”

Haverhill Weekly News

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