Letchworth electorate’s chance to decide town council future

09:02 03 May 2012

Questionnaires are expected to arrive through Letchworth GC letter boxes on Monday

Questionnaires are expected to arrive through Letchworth GC letter boxes on Monday

Archant

AN ELECTORATE has the chance to shape the future of a town council as a review begins.

"If you want to make sure that the town council is dissolved, please ensure you return your completed questionnaire confirming that you want Letchworth town council to be abolished"

Letchworth Garden City Council chairman Frank Lovett

North Hertfordshire District Council (NHDC) will start posting questionnaires tomorrow (Friday) which will help decide whether Letchworth Garden City Council should be abolished.

The surveys will be sent to the electorate in Letchworth GC, as well as the town’s businesses and voluntary organisations, with the first expected to arrive through letter boxes on Monday.

The public consultation will form part of a Community Governance Review being carried out by NHDC after the Help Eliminate Letchworth Parish council (HELP) led town council successfully applied for a review to be undertaken in February.

Currently 21 of the 24 town councillors represent HELP, which gained election in 2009 with the sole aim to abolish the council, which was formed in 2005.

"An effective town council, working for us all, will provide a voice and has the authority provided by government to ensure it’s heard"

Cllr Sue Johnson

Town council chairman Frank Lovett said: “Since the election the town council has not made any charge to the taxpayers of Letchworth. This has saved them in excess of £1.5 million, based upon the amount that our predecessors were charging. We don’t believe that the vast majority will have noticed any difference whatsoever in how the town has been run.

“If you want to make sure that the town council is dissolved, please ensure you return your completed questionnaire confirming that you want Letchworth town council to be abolished.

“Don’t let the town go back to the old wasteful regime of large bills, little or no benefit to the community, and personal animosities and acrimony.”

Cllr Sue Johnson, who represents the Town Council Supporters Party, said: “The first town council elections saw 24 independent local people defeat NHDC councillors to form a council existing solely to represent the rights of Letchworth townspeople. The average cost to households was 75p per week, less than a copy of this newspaper - a small cost for the right to run our own town.

“The HELP group have not made any charge – or provided any services. However they have spent most of the £357,000 of public money they inherited.

“An effective town council, working for us all, will provide a voice and has the authority provided by government to ensure it’s heard. If you want this, and don’t want NHDC to have complete say on how our town is run then you need say so and be sure to return your questionnaire.”

Following the six-week consultation, draft proposals will be considered and agreed by NHDC. Public meetings will then be held before final proposals are formulated in November, with a final decision expected in January 2013.

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