‘Town coun­cil would help en­cour­age civic pride in our city’

Kentish Gazette Canterbury & District - - Heading To The Wild - By Gerry War­ren gwar­ren@thek­m­group.co.uk @Ger­ry_war­ren

A lively pub­lic de­bate over whether the city should have its own ‘town’ coun­cil has re­sulted in many swayed in favour of the idea.

The meet­ing was held just five days be­fore the end of the city coun­cil’s con­sul­ta­tion over whether there is de­mand and need for more lo­cal forms of gov­er­nance across the dis­trict.

It was or­gan­ised by the Can­ter­bury So­ci­ety last Tues­day at St Peter’s Methodist Church and chaired by Pro­fes­sor Richard Nor­man.

There was an ex­change of views at the meet­ing both for and against cre­at­ing more lo­cal tiers of gov­ern­ment in the dis­trict, as out­lined in the city coun­cil’s Com­mu­nity Gov­er­nance Re­view.

So­ci­ety chair­man Jan Pahl said the op­tions dis­cussed in­cluded cre­at­ing a town coun­cil in Can­ter­bury, hav­ing smaller commu- nity coun­cils for parts of the city, de­vel­op­ing an ex­panded role for the coun­cil’s Can­ter­bury Area Mem­ber Panel or keep­ing things as they are.

She put the case for town coun­cils in Can­ter­bury, Whit­stable and Herne Bay, say­ing: “They could fo­cus on the in­ter­ests of res­i­dents and raise money to deal with some of the is­sues they care about, such as re­duc­ing lit­ter and graf­fiti and look­ing after our parks and gardens.”

After the meet­ing she added: “The dis­cus­sion started off by be­ing rather scep­ti­cal. How­ever, by the end a num­ber of peo­ple were in­clined to the view that a town coun­cil, fo­cused on lim­ited and re­al­is­tic ob­jec­tives such as cleaner streets and rais­ing a pre­cept specif­i­cally tar­geted on such ob­jec­tives, would have a lot to rec­om­mend it.”

He­lene Lan­g­ley, of the Nor­man Road Res­i­dents’ As­so­ci­a­tion, added: “I now be­lieve that a town coun­cil would give Can­ter­bury city res­i­dents a much more lo­cal voice and also en­cour­age civic pride.

“The idea of fo­cus­ing on a spe­cific area of lo­cal con­cern such as street clean­ing or parks or any­thing else cho­sen, would I be­lieve at­tract much more en­thu­si­asm for get­ting res­i­dents in­volved.

“At present too many peo­ple feel they have no say and are ap­a­thetic and pas­sive.”

The first stage of the city coun­cil’s pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion on the Com­mu­nity Gov­er­nance Re­view has closed and it will be putting for­ward pro­pos­als in the new year, based on the re­sponses.

Can­ter­bury So­ci­ety chair­man Jan Pahl

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