Leader makes U-turn over council future
RESIDENTS in Macclesfield look set to elect their first town council after a dramatic U-turn by the leader of Cheshire East Council.
Coun Michael Jones has been one of the most vocal opponents of the idea since a community governance review was launched last year to debate creating a new layer of local democracy.
But despite more than half of the 6,500 residents who took part in a recent ballot voting for a single town council instead of options to create seven smaller parish councils, or expanding the current Local Service Delivery Committee (LSDC), Coun Jones, pictured, argued the poor turn-out did not give a clear vision of what the town wanted.
Now, following pressure from fellow Tory councillors, Coun Jones has agreed to give Macclesfield its own town council.
Coun ted Jones admit
the U-turn and said it was now “full steam ahead” with elections taking place next May, on the same day as the General Election.
He said: “I have always been determined for Macclesfield to have a very strong voice. A town council will have a certain amount of power but not enough in my opinion. I wanted a brand new model, which would have statutory powers. It would have been experimental.
“The issue of the ballot was discussed by the Conservative group and a lot was said about the turnout at the Cheshire PCC elections and the majorities by the members themselves. We asked ourselves, can we really refuse the ballot? There was unanimous vote in favour of a town council. It is good to see democracy have its way.”
The decision has been welcomed by the town’s Mayor, Labour councillor Janet Jackson.
She said: “It’s fantastic news. The democratic right of the people of Macclesfield to have their own Town Council has finally and very reluctantly been recognised by the leadership at Cheshire East. But the battle isn’t over yet, as they say, the devil is in the detail.”
The Conservative group recommendation will now go to the council’s constitution committee On November 27, where it is expected to be given the green light.