MP Mark Spencer’s comments about a town council for Hucknall belied a misunderstanding about the structure and functions of local authorities.
A town council could not replace Ashfield District Council as it would not legally have the same duties or powers and what’s more would not be big or strategic enough to take on District functions such as refuse collection or town planning.
Only a new unitary authority, consisting of the amalgamation of existing districts, or the existing county council could assume the role of a district council. Such an arrangement, without agreement of all the authorities involved, is currently contrary to Government policy.
There is of course nothing to stop a new town council sitting alongside and complementing the District authority. Many areas already successfully operate these arrangements.
A new town council would provide Hucknall with a say on planning applications affecting the area and could access grants that other councils can’t. It could also look after other things, such as park benches, town clocks, hanging baskets etc.
It is true that it would come at a cost, depending on the extent of the functions the new council would provide.
A District council scrutiny commission could usefully find these costs out allowing for a full and informed debate of the issue.
Mr M Kane
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