End in sight for town council as Letchworth votes for abolition

A TOWN’S electorate has voted overwhelmingly in favour of abolishing a council, with its dissolution now seemingly inevitable.

Surveys asking Letchworth GC residents if they supported a proposal to abolish Letchworth Garden City Council – set up in 2005 – saw three quarters of respondents vote yes.

A total of 27,576 questionnaires were issued and one quarter – 7,138 – were returned, with only 15 per cent in favour of retaining the town council.

The latest consultation figures were discussed on Tuesday night by North Herts District Council’s Letchworth Town Community Governance Review Member Working Group and follow an initial survey sent out in the summer which returned similar results.

The two questionnaires form part of a year-long review being carried out by the district council to determine the town council’s future.

Currently, 21 of its 24 elected members represent Help Eliminate Letchworth Parish council (HELP), which formed with the sole objective of abolishing the town council and called for the review.

Councillor Frank Lovett, chairman of Letchworth Garden City Council, said: “Letchworth wants rid of the town council, the message from the Letchworth electorate couldn’t be clearer.

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“This second consultation has had a very large public response. For every one person who voted to keep the town council, there are five who voted to abolish it. There has been clear, sustained and consistent informed opposition to the continuation of the town council over the four year period since residents became concerned about its futility and expense.

“Every vote has seen around 75 per cent in favour of abolition. This vote shows the little support there was for the town council has continued to dwindle.”

Councillor Sue Johnson, spokesman for the two-strong Town Council Supporters Party, declined to comment.

A final proposal, expected to endorse the abolition of the town council, will be agreed by members of the district council on November 22.

The public will then be invited to comment on the proposal for a final time before the outcome of the review is published in January 2013.