Governance for Macclesfield – voting coming up

 We will shortly be asked to vote for our preferred system of town governance.

It is looking as if Cheshire East will be offering what they say are two options, but which are effectively three:

a) An Enhanced Local Service Delivery Committee plus the Charter Trustees.

b) One or more town/parish councils.

Whichever system we choose, Cheshire East Council will remain responsible for major services such as planning decisions. However, if we vote for a town council for Macclesfield, Macclesfield will be represented in these decisions.  If we vote for an enhanced Local Service Delivery Committee, Cheshire East will continue to reign unchallenged.  Every area of Cheshire East, except Macclesfield, is currently represented by a Parish or Town Council, and each of the unparished areas to date have chosen that form of governance.

It is likely there will be an additional cost for both options.

More details:

a) Enhanced Macclesfield Local Service Delivery Committee plus the Charter Trustees

The Local Service Delivery Committee is a Cheshire East committee run by the 12 Cheshire East Councillors who represent Macclesfield’s town wards.  The Committee doesn’t currently represent the interests of the local community on things such as planning applications and highways matters. It has been set up to consider and advise the Council on the quality, quantity and cost of service provision in Macclesfield. Its function is to ensure fairness of taxation for local services (such as community halls and allotments) that elsewhere in the Borough are provided by Parish / Town Councils. Possible terms of reference for an enhanced role are still being discussed but we understand that the role will not include any statutory powers of representation, meaning Cheshire East can ignore any advice it gives.

The Charter Trustees look after ceremonial functions only and have no operational or representative responsibilities.

Cost: The Service Delivery Committee cost is currently met out of Cheshire East council tax, but in future is it likely that a Special Expense will be added to Macclesfield residents council tax bills. There is also a small charge for the Charter Trustees (currently £1.55 for Council Tax band D).

 

b) One or more town/parish councils

The terms town and parish council are used interchangeably but mean the same thing.  Any town councils would be independent of Cheshire East, as people will be elected separately. This would mean that the party political make up of the council might be different to that of Cheshire East.

Under the 2012 Localism Act, town councils have greater powers than they did previously, meaning that they can offer democratic representation and accountability, the ability to influence decision making by other bodies and the ability to deliver existing services or provide additional services.

A Macclesfield Town Council would have the power to:

  • Develop and state local positions as a statutory consultee on every Cheshire East consultation and all local planning applications.
  • Create a Neighbourhood Plan. This would become part of any local development plan and would have to be used as a basis for making decisions on planning.
  • Directly manage local assets.
  • Provide support for local services.
  • Work in permanent partnership with a variety of local bodies to improve their services.
  • Work with and support local community groups across the Town.
  • Do anything that it is legal for an individual to do. E.g. Own property, start a business, employ staff to provide a service etc.
  • Support the Mayoralty.

There is also the option of splitting Macclesfield into up to seven different parishes each with their own council. This option would mean no single voice for the town.

Cost:  A Town Council can raise a local charge (called a precept). The amount would depend on what services it decided to operate.

Cheshire East will soon be finalising details of the options and circulating information.  It is expected that this will include the pros and cons of each option plus examples of what is happening elsewhere.  Every Macclesfield household will get voting papers.

Please get involved and show that Macclesfield residents do care about how decisions are made on our behalf.

You can see details of the governance review committee’s discussions so far here

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