If you want a town coun­cil we will get be­hind you

Ormskirk Advertiser - - Front Page -

LAN­CASHIRE county Labour Group has agreed to sup­port a Skelmers­dale Town Coun­cil – if that is what lo­cal peo­ple want.

The group says that it is im­por­tant that peo­ple know what it en­tails re­gard­ing demo­cratic struc­tures, ser­vice pro­vi­sion and how much this will all cost on top of the com­bined coun­cil taxes.

Town coun­cils and parishes are funded through the pre­cept, which is not a re­place­ment for ex­ist­ing coun­cil tax costs.

The pre­cept, un­like the in­come for other au­thor­i­ties, is not capped by gov­ern­ment, so a town coun­cil can set its own tax.

There are town and par­ish coun­cils all over Lan­cashire and, in West Lan­cashire, only Skelmers­dale and Orm­skirk are not cov­ered by a first-level au­thor­ity.

Cllr John Fil­lis, speak­ing on be­half of the Skelmers­dale county coun­cil­lors, Cllr Julie Gib­son and Cllr Terry Aldridge, said: “It’s im­por­tant that peo­ple de­cide if they wish to have a Skelmers­dale Town Coun­cil once they have all the facts with­out the fic­tion.

“There are many town and par­ish coun­cils in Lan­cashire that do an ex­cel­lent job.

“How­ever, con­cerns have been raised by lo­cal peo­ple re­gard­ing the im­pact some town and par­ish coun­cils have and the sub­se­quent cost.

“Al­though the ques­tion of a Skelmers­dale Town Coun­cil has been raised be­fore, it’s im­por­tant that this is de­bated again if peo­ple wish to con­sider it.

“But this de­bate must be open and hon­est so that peo­ple can make an in­formed choice. Lan­cashire Labour is here to lis­ten and sup­port the wishes of the peo­ple of Skelmers­dale.”

A Skelmers­dale Town Coun­cil would re­sult in three lev­els of lo­cal gov­ern­ment: Lan­cashire County Coun­cil, West Lan­cashire Bor­ough Coun­cil and Skelmers­dale Town Coun­cil.

Work­ing along­side this would be the Lan­cashire Po­lice Com­mis­sioner and Lan­cashire Fire Au­thor­ity.

The leg­is­la­tion to es­tab­lish a town coun­cil is laid down by gov­ern­ment and not other lo­cal au­thor­i­ties, but they do have a part to play in the process.

To set up a town or par­ish coun­cil, a pe­ti­tion con­tain­ing the sig­na­tures of at least 7.5% of the lo­cal pop­u­la­tion needs to be sub­mit­ted to the lo­cal au­thor­ity.

If the pe­ti­tion is valid, that au­thor­ity, the bor­ough coun­cil, will carry out a “com­mu­nity governance re­view” to see if a lo­cal coun­cil should be cre­ated.

Town coun­cils can de­velop a wide range of dis­cre­tionary pow­ers to pro­vide and main­tain a va­ri­ety of im­por­tant and vis­i­ble lo­cal ser­vices in­clud­ing al­lot­ments, bri­dle­ways, burial grounds, bus shel­ters, car parks, com­mons and open spa­ces, com­mu­nity trans­port schemes, com­mu­nity safety and crime re­duc­tion mea­sures, events and fes­ti­vals, foot­paths, leisure and sports fa­cil­i­ties, lit­ter bins, pub­lic toi­lets, plan­ning, street clean­ing and light­ing, tourism, traf­fic calm­ing, vil­lage greens and youth projects.

They are not in charge of the po­lice, ed­u­ca­tion, fire, or the na­tional health ser­vices.

Cllrs John Fil­lis, Skelmers­dale East; Cllr Julie Gib­son, Skelmers­dale West; and Cllr Terry Aldridge, Skelmers­dale Cen­tral

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