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