Town coun­cil plans ‘put on ice’

Kentish Gazette Canterbury & District - - News -

Coun­cil chiefs say pro­pos­als to cre­ate more town coun­cils in the dis­trict are set to be put on ice after a lack of in­ter­est.

Can­ter­bury City Coun­cil, as part of an on-go­ing re­view of lo­cal gov­ern­ment and its own area-based coun­cil meet­ings, had put out the idea of form­ing town coun­cils for Can­ter­bury, Herne Bay and Whit­stable.

But coun­cil­lors this week said the re­sult of a con­sul­ta­tion and the low re­sponse rate, re­vealed lim­ited ap­petite. Con­cerns were cited over pay­ing more for coun­cil tax and added bu­reau­cracy.

Cllr Ben Fit­ter-hard­ing, chair- man of the author­ity’s com­mu­nity gov­er­nance re­view work­ing group, said: “It was clear there is a de­sire for lo­cal peo­ple and lo­cal coun­cil­lors to have a greater say about de­ci­sions af­fect­ing their area.

“They also felt this coun­cil could do more to wel­come mem­bers of the pub­lic to its meet­ings and en­cour­age them to take part. We’re keen to hear peo­ple’s views on how we can do this.

“This process leaves the door open to the cre­ation of town coun­cils, es­pe­cially if there is a groundswell of sup­port for them in the fu­ture, but recog­nises that now is not the right time.”

The coun­cil al­ready stages sep­a­rate area mem­ber pan­els for Can­ter­bury, Herne Bay, Whit­stable and the ru­ral vil­lages. All fo­cus on lo­cal is­sues which then feed back into coun­cil de­ci­sion mak­ing.

The on-go­ing dis­cus­sion is now look­ing at whether to ad­just the bound­aries of some par­ish coun­cils, re­name oth­ers and if a new par­ish coun­cil should be cre­ated in the Hers­den area.

To find out more or to take part in the con­sul­ta­tion, visit www.can­ter­bury.gov.uk/cgr. The dead­line for views is March 18.

Cllr Ben Fit­ter-hard­ing

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