Councillor calls Letchworth town council consultation a ‘waste of money’

A COUNCILLOR has called a second consultation on whether a town council should be abolished a “waste of everybody’s money”.

Cllr Steve Jarvis has criticised a decision to carry out a further consultation on the future of Letchworth Garden City Council - a move which will cost taxpayers �13,000.

A draft proposal to abolish the town council and the civil parish arrangement, subject to a further public consultation, was agreed by North Herts District Council (NHDC) last Thursday.

The proposal follows an initial survey sent to 28,000 Letchworth GC residents in May which found that 74 per cent of the 5,000 respondents were in favour of the town council being dissolved.

Cllr Jarvis told the Comet he found it “difficult to believe” that more residents would have their say in the second consultation which is part of a Community Governance Review which has so far cost the district council �30,000.

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The leader of the NHDC Liberal Democrats group said: “Of those that did vote, the overwhelming majority thought there shouldn’t be a town council. I think the council should take account of that and not spend a lot more money unnecessarily. �30,000 is a considerable amount and now it’s gone up significantly. It’s a waste of everybody’s money.”

Claire Strong, NHDC’s portfolio holder for policy, said: “Having been asked to conduct the Community Governance Review, we are required to follow the government guidance and the second round of public consultation is a necessary part of the process. It enables us to go back to people in Letchworth with the specific proposals we have formulated based upon the initial survey and get their views before any decision is made.”

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The review was called for by Help Eliminate Letchworth Parish council (HELP) members, who currently make up 21 of the 24 elected seats.

The second six-week public consultation is due to run between August and October with a decision on the fate of the town council - formed in 2005 - expected in January 2013.

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