Town council for Grantham - a good idea or not?

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News

The pros and cons of a town council for Grantham were discussed at a meeting of the Charter Trustees on Tuesday.

Chief executive of the Lincolnshire Association of Local Councils, Trisha Carter, addressed the meeting attended by a number of councillors but just five members of the public.

Referring to the Localism Act 2011, Ms Carter said: “The Government is very supportive of parish and town councils. It is about local people making decisions which affect local people.”

As well as discussing central Government grants available for town council campaigners, Ms Carter spoke on how town councils could take on the running of local buildings and leisure facilities, and touched upon how the neighbourhood plans currently being drawn up by town and parish councils can give residents more say on developments in their area.

Bridge End Grove homeowner Joe White said: “My house backs straight on to the Southern Quadrant development. There should have been more community involvement on the decision to build that many houses.”

District councillor Jacky Smith explained that planning decisions would still have to comply with national planning policy, and added: “You are just going to be paying for the district council and for the town council to do the same job.”

Although Ms Carter was not at the meeting to discuss exact figures in terms of the additional precept, which can’t be determined until after a community governance review, the cost of setting up and running a town council was the main question from both councillors and members of the public.

Grantham Museum chairman and district council candidate Helen Goral asked: “How can you say it’s a good idea when we don’t know the cost to the taxpayer?”

County councillor Richard Davies also questioned whether people wanted another layer of politicians.

The ongoing question over whether Grantham should have a town council has resurfaced again with the decision of South Kesteven’s Labour group to launch a petition.

A Journal poll in September also saw 196 people vote in favour of a town council. The public appetite was also mentioned during the meeting, with county and district councillor Ray Wootten highlighting the small number of public attendees.