Residents given go ahead to form new parish council

A GROUP of residents are celebrating after they were given the green light to break away from their town council and form a new governing body.

Central Bedfordshire Council’s (CBC) general purpose committee decided on Thursday (June7) to allow residents of Fairfield Park to form their own parish council so they could break away from Stotfold Town Council.

More than 12 months ago campaign group, Action for Fairfield Community asked residents to sign a petition calling for the setting up of their own parish council.

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

The action group have argued that Stotfold Town Council has no responsibilities for the estate’s upkeep. Money for that comes from residents’ service or rent charges.

Campaigner for Action for Fairfield Community, Barry Dack, said: “We are delighted, it’s been a long hard struggle but the people of Fairfield’s wishes have been granted. Having a parish council will make a big difference and next year will be a major year.”

Central Bedfordshire Council gave a formal approval to form the parish council at a full council meeting on Thursday.

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The responsibility for running Fairfield Park affairs will be taken over by Fairfield Parish Council from May 2013.

Councillor Alan Cooper, deputy mayor of Stotfold Town Council, said: “Our initial reaction must be one of disappointment and regret that so many centuries of history for the town of Stotfold and its community should be facing this major change.

“It must be hoped that the initial enthusiasm from locals can be maintained to make a separate parish council viable and effective and that the required finances will not place too much burden on residents of Fairfield.”

The action group was asked to draw up a budget for the first year, the total was �92,525. This sum was approved by the general purpose committee and will be the first budget figure. The parish council will incur a cost of a parish clerk as well as meeting room hire costs.

To begin with the parish council will have five temporary councillors from CBC. On May 2 a local election will take place to elect seven councillors which will form Fairfield Parish Council.