Fairfield residents campaign for own council

A GROUP of residents have launched a campaign to break away from their town council and form a new governing body.

The campaigners say the people of the Fairfield estate, just outside Stotfold, are paying too much tax to Stotfold Town Council and their literature claims they receive “virtually nothing” in return.

The group, called Action for Fairfield Community, wants to create a new community council and will start collecting signatures next week.

Barrie Dack, the group’s spokesman and Stotfold town councillor, said: “The people we have spoken to have been positive. “We have an action group of about 20 members who have been very easy to get. Everyone we have spoken to says ‘where’s the signatures? Let’s sign’.”

The lobbyists were spurred into action when it was discovered that Fairfield residents contribute about �100,000 in taxation to the town council, which equates to a third of the body’s budget.

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Action for Fairfield Community says Stotfold Town Council has no responsibilities for the estate’s upkeep. Money for that comes from residents’ service or rent charges.

Mr Dack said: “The council tax goes for Stotfold Town Council’s facilities and we don’t get any rights to that. Because the A507 separates Stotfold and Fairfield, we are our own separate community.

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“Stotfold council has shown no interest in Fairfield. If we had our own council we could still charge council tax but it would be used in the community and it wouldn’t have to be spent on Stotfold’s facilities.

“There are much smaller villages in Bedfordshire which have their own parish councils, some of them are under 500 people and Astwick is 60 or 80.”

The campaigners will hit the streets on Monday to collect signatures for the campaign. They need the signatures of at least 50 per cent of the 1,800 Fairfield residents Mr Dack estimates are eligible to vote.

It would then be up to Central Bedfordshire Council to decide if a community council could be formed.

The chairman of Stotfold council would not comment on the proposal and said he would have to see more details.

Cllr Brian Collier said: “We haven’t seen any detail yet, so we can’t say anything yet.

“We are aware of it and they will have to put in their submission to Central Beds Council. It’s up to Central Beds if they want to take it further and it will go to public consultation.”

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