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Plans for Macclesfield town council hit the buffers

A community governance review was launched by Cheshire East Council to debate creating a new layer of local democracy.

Macclesfield Town Hall

Plans to create a town council for Macclesfield have hit the buffers after a poor public response to a consultation over the scheme.

Macclesfield is the only part of the borough of Cheshire East not to have a town or parish council.

A community governance review was launched by Cheshire East Council to debate creating a new layer of local democracy.

But a report to the Community Governance Review Sub Committee has revealed that despite eight public meetings and a publicity campaign only 90 residents, and 15 of 127 stakeholders, responded during the five week consultation period.

The council has now delayed the next stage of the review in a bid to get more views before a ballot in December.

Coun Janet Jackson described the response as "very disappointing”.

She said: “Its puzzling. Maybe it is apathy about politics and local government but I would assume those interest in their community would be interested in the governance of the town.

“This is a important chance for Macclesfield to get away from a hide-bound political position with decisions being made about Macclesfield by councillors and officers many miles away.”

Cheshire East Council is in the process of transferring services such as allotments, burial grounds, bus shelters, litter bins, markets, open space and public conveniences to parish and town councils.

It also wants towns and villages to contribute to the funding CCTV.

The Macclesfield Community Governance Review is consulting on nine potential formats such as a community trust, a town council or a series of parish councils. Another option is to give the current Macclesfield Local Service Delivery Committee - which is run by the town's 12 councillors - more powers and control over local services.

But either option would cost taxpayers in the form of an annual precept.

Of the 115 parish or town councils in Cheshire East the most expensive parish precept is Nantwich where residents in band D homes pay £95.24, while Aston-by-Budworth charge residents £5.53. Crewe, which is roughly the same size as Macclesfield, costs band D taxpayers £28 extra per year.

Coun Lloyd Roberts, Macclesfield's mayor, would prefer to see an expansion of the current Macclesfield Local Service Delivery Committee.

He said: “It's another layer of tax we don't need.”

Public consultation will continue until December when the council will ballot residents on if they want to change to one of preferred options or stay as they are.

 

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