Governance – forms in by 28th July

It’s now your last chance to tell Cheshire East what governance you want for Macclesfield.  You should have the mailing from the council with the lilac voting form; Forms have to be in by 5pm on 28th July

The three options:

1a. 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 has no role in planning or other county level 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.

We are told the committee’s role would be enhanced and that it could potentially take over the running of certain local services. Its work would however continue to be part of the CEC decision making structure and any additional powers would be granted or withdrawn at the discretion of Cheshire East. It could not own any assets.

We understand also that the role will not include any statutory powers of representation, meaning Cheshire East can ignore any advice it gives.

In addition, we have been told that although a cross-party group of LSDC members did propose some terms of reference and more powers for such a body a while ago, the proposal they tabled was rejected by Cheshire East Council’s Governance Committee.

Whatever powers the committee might have, Cheshire East will be legally responsible for its acts and will therefore have to maintain close oversight plus a potential veto.

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).

1b. A parish (town council) which would either be:

2a. A single Town Council

This would be a new body with elected representatives separate from Cheshire East. You would vote for a representative (or representatives) for your own ward. Town councils (which are the same these days as parish councils) are typically non-party political. A town council would be a statutory consultee on every Cheshire East consultation and all local planning applications, meaning its views could not be easily ignored. It could also create a neighbourhood plan which would have to be used as a basis for planning decisions. Town councils can also directly own and manage local assets, and many (such as Bollington) actively market their towns to attract tourists and boost local trade. All the local Town Councillors in East Cheshire are unpaid and don’t get any expenses for attending meetings. The town council would take over the role of the Charter Trustees.

2b. Seven smaller councils: Seven bodies with same powers as a town council but each representing just one small part of the town, the current Cheshire East wards. This would mean no single voice for the town as a whole.

With this arrangement, there could be multiple approaches to service provision, and as many of the facilities/services provided locally for the whole town are situated in only one of the wards, the separate councils would have to agree on who should fund and manage any agreed initiative or service.

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

Note: 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 be 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.

The results of this exercise are not binding on CEC – the vote is being held as part of the statutory consultation process. But please get involved and show that Macclesfield residents do care about how decisions are made on our behalf.

 

 

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