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Stalybridge Together in Moves for Town Council

Stalybridge could get its own town council after plans were unveiled by a group of local volunteers.

Stalybridge Together, a team campaigning for the town council's formation, say their vision is the only way to give the town a voice.

As reported last week, the independent group held its first meeting last Tuesday evening at the town’s Civic hall to discuss ideas and opportunities for the creation of such a council.

In a move which could be as far as 18 months away, the group must gather the signatures of at least ten per cent if the town's electorate in order to trigger a referendum.

If given approval, Stalybridge Town Council could then be playing an active part in the town.

It would have to be consulted on things like planning applications that affect Stalybridge and it could even take over the running of services such as the upkeep of graveyards, allotments and gardens but would remain under Tameside Council's control.

"This is about a group of local people wanting to make Stalybridge a better place to work and live in," said Vicky McLarnon, chairwoman of Stalybridge Together, which currently has 25 members.

"We're all from different parts of Stalybridge and there are lots of views that need addressing, which is why we are proposing to create Stalybridge Town Council.

"We don't want to replace Tameside Council, we want to work with them to improve Stalybridge.

"The idea for the council came about because we heard about the plans which happened in Mossley which has a parish council.

"We've since been to visit other town councils in Wilmslow and Crewe to see this in action, we know it does work and does make a difference, so that was the push we needed to say we can do this."

A Stalybridge Town Council would be funded through a precept, likely to be slightly higher than the estimated £7.05 that residents in Mossley pay to their town council.

Unpaid councillors, democratically elected by local residents, would sit on the council.

It is understood that there would be three wards with a council made up of 12 councillors.

A town council could not take on the responsibility of a principal authority but would be able to enhance some services with Tameside Council, such as education, transport and social services.

Vice-Chairman of Stalybridge Together, Neil Merriman, said: "Stalybridge has a tradition of people coming together when the time is right.

"The time is right again for us to stand together and rebuild this town from the ground up.

"It is time for Stalybridge people to say enough is enough, this is our town and together we are Stalybridge."

Vicky added: "We are not wanting to replace Tameside Council, but we hope this will help take some of the pressure that they are currently facing away.

"We're hoping we can get funds in from other sources from grants that they can't apply for. This can only be for the benefit of Stalybridge.

"In summary, the town council will endeavor to encourage the best social and environmental practice for Stalybridge by managing assets and resources of the town council.

"In a nutshell we want to do the best for Stalybridge, whether that be for the residents or businesses, but we also want to improve the natural aspects of Stalybridge to benefit families and tourists coming into the town."

You can watch the full meeting from last Tuesday, which was chaired by Cllr Terry O'Neill, of Helsby Parish Council, who chaired the meeting on behalf of the ChALC (Cheshire Association of Local Councils) by visiting http://www.stalybridgetogether.co.uk/launch-meeting/.

If you would like to support the campaign for Stalybridge Town Council, please contact volunteer@stalybridgetogether.co.uk or call 0843 8865 338.

This is What People Say ...

 

We took to the streets of Stalybridge to find out what you thought of plans for a town council. Here's what some of you had to say...

 

Peter Taylor, Stalybridge:

"It's something that I've always thought there should be. The town council should have been left as it was in the first place but obviously in 1974 it all went to Tameside and I think all the small towns lost their own identity.

"Although the councillors have done good work for Stalybridge over the years, there's also been a lot of decisions made above the councillors’ heads by the cabinet and by people who don't know about Stalybridge and they've not always been for the good.

"I think that applies to most of the small towns in Tameside and there's a role at the moment for this.

"I think there's something like 200 town teams around the country and it's obviously coming back, for example, like Scotland wanting devolution.

"People want to be smaller and to identify with the people they're dealing with.

"I think that a Stalybridge Town Council would be the best thing that happened to Stalybridge for the last 30-40 years."

 

Christine Ormsby, Stalybridge:

"To be quite honest, I think it's a waste of time because I know Tameside Council has its problems, but I can't see going on their own is going to make much difference.

"It's just going to create more problems. As a business owner, I'm quite happy with things as they are."

 

Tom Bancroft:

"I think obviously the council branching away would be a really, really good thing for Stalybridge, as people around Stalybridge know it's a very, very quiet area.

"Most of the local shops have closed so I think an individual council will help them individualise Stalybridge and bring it out of its slum so to speak, not in a sense of it being a poor area, but opening up more shops and being more individual to the town and helping it get back on its feet again."

 

Jamie Chadwick, Stalybridge:

"Well I don't really know that much about what's happening exactly with it but what I have heard so far sounds good for the town.

"More attention from the council goes to Ashton and the bigger towns, and Stalybridge doesn't get as much attention as Ashton."

Copyright © Stalybridge Together 2014