Leader makes U-turn over coun­cil fu­ture

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE - STU­ART GREER

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.

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