Parish to take on town coun­cil roles

‘Spe­cial re­la­tion­ship’ be­tween two coun­cils will see pow­ers del­e­gated to lo­cal level

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS - By Tom Her­bert tom.her­bert@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

FOR­GET about Bri­tain and Amer­ica’s ‘spe­cial re­la­tion­ship’ – there is a bet­ter ex­am­ple of team­work closer to home.

Amer­sham Town Coun­cil will con­tract out some ser­vices to Ger­rards Cross Parish Coun­cil and have the au­thor­i­ties’ “spe­cial re­la­tion­ship” to thank for the move.

From April 1, the coun­cils will share ser­vices such as grass cut­ting, pave­ment weed con­trol and mi­nor traf­fic sign re­pairs, sub­ject to a con­tract be­ing signed.

The de­volved ser­vices add to the tasks al­ready car­ried out by the parish which is helped by an £8,000 an­nual grant from Buck­ing­hamshire County Coun­cil. The other ser­vices the parish will carry out in­clude trim­ming veg­e­ta­tion that is ob­struct­ing pave­ments and foot­paths and the main­te­nance of rights of way.

The pro­posed move is part of the gov­ern­ment’s lo­cal­ism pol­icy, which aims to de­volve pow­ers to peo­ple, com­mu­ni­ties and coun­cils.

The four-year con­tract aims to speed up the de­ci­sion-mak­ing progress at the parish author­ity and get more work com­pleted.

Chris Brown, chair­man of Ger­rards Cross Parish Coun­cil, said: “Thanks to our spe­cial re­la­tion­ship with the town coun­cil we have been in the priv­i­leged po­si­tion of stay­ing ahead.”

Mr Brown said part of the rea­son be­hind the move is the dis­tance the county coun­cil is from Ger­rards Cross: “Ayles­bury is a long way away,” he said. “The big­gest over­head is man­ag­ing ser­vices and they are ex­tremely short on cash.

“We can be much more suc­cess­ful now than we were when we were re­ly­ing on the town coun­cil. We have much more con­trol than be­fore.”

He con­tin­ued by say­ing the move will en­able the parish coun­cil to con­trol mat­ters and “fo­cus” on the is­sues af­fect­ing res­i­dents “rather than rely on an or­gan­i­sa­tion far away from here”.

Mr Brown also said the move will mean work will be ad­dressed “in a cou­ple of weeks” as op­posed to the cur­rent sys­tem, which causes de­lays.

“We needed to seize the op­por­tu­nity while it was there,” added Mr Brown. “We would like to in­crease it as it gets things turned around more quickly.”

Amer­sham Town Coun­cil clerk Janet Wheeler said: “They have been very happy with the work we have done.

“It is en­tirely likely we will be ex­tend­ing the con­tract.

“We have a spe­cial work­ing re­la­tion­ship,” she added.

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