Does Leeds suburb need ‘expensive luxury’ of a town council?

Guiseley.
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GUISELEY could get its own town council.

A petition for the establishment of a new sub-authority in the north-west Leeds suburb has been received by Leeds City Council, which is currently looking into the proposals.

The area covered by the potential panel has just 11,039 electors.

A new council report says the petition has been signed by 1,179 people, just above the 10 per cent needed for the plans to be acceptable for consideration.

However Guiseley and Rawdon ward Conservative Councillor Graham Latty has hit out at the proposals, saying the area does not need the “expensive luxury” of a second layer of local government which would have to be funded by the taxpayer.

He told the YEP the area’s recently established Neighbourhood Forum fulfils many of a parish council’s functions, without any added cost.

There are 32 parish and town councils within the Leeds district. Their hyper-local level decision-making powers and activities are funded by a precept added to each householder’s council tax bill.

“I don’t favour a parish council for Guiseley,” Coun Latty said. “We have just recently had the Neighbourhood Forum designated. This draws up the neighbourhood plan, and a parish council can do the same. But once the designation has taken place, they cannot.

“This is one of the things that would be a waste of time. The general remit [of a neighbourhood forum] would fulfil some of the functions without having to pay the precept on your council tax.”

He said there was a danger of the small suburb becoming “awash with councillors”, adding that he believes the idea is “being pushed by the Guiseley Labour party” for political rather than practical reasons.

Councillor Peter Gruen, deputy leader of Leeds City Council, slammed councillor Latty’s comments as “nonsense”.

“We are reacting to [the wishes] of more than 10 per cent of electors in Guiseley, in excess of the percentage needed to trigger such a request,” he said. “If he is saying they are all Labour members, can he please give me their names and addresses?”

He stressed the plans were at a preliminary stage and would soon be released for consultation.

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