Councillors to have say on power ballot
THE town’s councillors are to have a vital say on the future governance of Macclesfield.
Cheshire East councillors, who represent the 10 wards in the borough, will debate the divisive issue at the next meeting of the Macclesfield Local Service Delivery Committee (LSDC).
They will analyse the results of the recent ballot where almost 40,000 residents were asked if they wanted to create a new town council, create seven parish councils, or give more powers to the current LSDC, where existing Cheshire East councillors run the services on behalf of the council.
Of the 6,448 residents who had their say, more than half – 3,429 – felt the formation of a single town council was the right thing for Macclesfield.
A further 1,478 people were in favour of forming seven smaller parish councils, while only 1,449 want an ‘Enhanced’ Local Service Delivery Committee
But Cheshire East Council leader Michael Jones argues the results do not give a clear vision of what people in the town want.
At last week’s Macclesfield community governance review sub-committee, which was set up to look at the future governance of Macclesfield, tempers flared during a debate.
Speaking after the meeting coun Janet Jackson, who is favour of creating a new town council, said: “There was a lot said about the poor turnout in the ballot, but it is important to remember, this vote was not mandatory but the second stage of a consultation. I had to remind the committee that at 16 per cent, the turnout was actually higher than the 14 per cent who voted in the Cheshire. Police and Crime Commissioner election. I would argue that it is a strong indicator that residents want a town council.”
The committee was expected to make a recommendation to Cheshire East’s Constitution Committee, which meets next month, but instead, referred the matter to the Macclesfield LSDC.
Coun Jackson fears the process is stalling and will not be decided before the council elections next May.
She said: “With this delay I worry our chance to give Macclesfield real power again is slipping away.
“On the other hand councillors have an important say in how things progress and will need to be acutely aware of how their constituents, who they answer to, voted in the recent ballot.”
The ballot was the latest stage of the Macclesfield Community Governance Review, which is exploring how Cheshire East Council can devolve services and assets – such as CCTV, allotments, burial grounds, markets and public conveniences – to the community.
Macclesfield is the only part of the borough of Cheshire East not to have a town or parish council.
●● Cheshire East Council leader Michael Jones