Coun­cil­lors to have say on power bal­lot

Macclesfield Express - - HANDS OFF HOLLINS VIEW - STU­ART GREER

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

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