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Thursday, 31 October 2019

Cheshire East seeks views on governance of town and parish councils


Residents are being asked to share their views on the governance arrangements for all town and parish councils in Cheshire East.

This survey, which went live today (28 October), will inform a review being undertaken across the borough by Cheshire East Council.

The council is responsible for the governance and electoral arrangements for the 186 town and parish council wards in 135 town and parish councils, which cover the whole borough. This community governance review (CGR) will include:

● Town and parish boundaries;

● Numbers of town and parish councillors;

● Grouping of parishes; and

● Warding.

As part of this process, the council wants people’s initial views on how they feel current governance arrangements for town and parishes are faring and whether there is a need for change – and why?

People are being urged to take part in a pre-consultation survey on the council’s website. It seeks to gather information, which will support the development of community governance proposals for formal consultation in 2020.

The overarching purpose of this review, which is in accordance with the Department of Communities and Local Government and Local Government Boundary Commission for England guidance, is to ensure that community governance arrangements ‘continue to reflect local identities and facilitate effective and convenient local government’.

Councillor Joy Bratherton, chairman of Cheshire East Council’s community governance review sub-committee, said: “As part of this review we need to hear people’s views on how effective current town and parish arrangements are at meeting local needs and any suggestions as to how this could be improved.

“The present arrangements predate the formation of Cheshire East and we are mindful that there has since been considerable change to the population, its distribution and to the borough’s settlements.

“The survey will feed into the overarching review, which offers the opportunity to ensure that the tier of parish governance is fit for purpose for the future. I would urge people to take part in this pre-consultation survey and share their views via the council website    at: https://surveys.cheshireeast.gov.uk/s/CGRPartOne/

Paper copies of the survey can also be obtained from local libraries or Cheshire East Council’s customer service offices at Macclesfield Town Hall, The Municipal Buildings in Crewe and Westfields in Sandbach. The survey runs until 31 January 2020.

Government guidance advises that it is good practice to hold a review of town and parish governance every 10-15 years. The last was done before Cheshire East Council was created in 2009.

Cllr Bratherton, added: “Nothing is changing yet, as the review is a complex task and any changes proposed under the CGR would follow extensive public consultation – including with town and parish councils and other stakeholders. The aim is to complete the process well before the scheduled local elections in May 2023 – and there certainly won’t be change for change’s sake.”

The Cheshire East community governance review does not include the electoral arrangements for borough council or parliamentary seats. These would be the responsibility of Whitehall (the Local Government Boundary Commission and the Boundary Commission for England, respectively) and are not currently proposed.

For more information about CGR visit the council webpage at:

https://www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/council_and_democracy/community-governance/community-governance-reviews.aspx

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