Independent councillors who are campaigning to change the current cabinet system at Cheshire East Council say "we have obviously hit a raw nerve with residents".
Over 5,000 residents have signed their petition so they are now well over a third of the way to reaching the required target to request that the Council holds a referendum about making a change in how it is governed at the same time as next May's elections.
If more than 5% of voters in Cheshire East (c. 15,000 people) sign the petition, then a referendum can be demanded. The referendum would likely be a choice between the existing cabinet-style system and a new committee-led system.
Councillor Toni Fox representing the Dean Row ward in Wilmslow said "Residents across Wilmslow feel their views have been, and continue to be, largely ignored. Too many promises have been made and broken - parking issues in Wilmslow being a current case in point. Residents are all too aware that their tax payers money has been wasted on Chief Executive's gardening leave and pay offs when this money could have been used to keep essential local services running and putting into place badly needed local infrastructure."
Councillor Fox also added "According to sources from within the Council the highly publicised issues over the last couple of years are now affecting recruitment. No suitable applicants have been forthcoming to fill the vacancies in senior management and these will not now be advertised again until after the elections next May. If this is the case clearly it is not only residents that have lost confidence in Cheshire East Council. Unfortunately this also means that remaining staff are being put under even more pressure and it casts further doubt on the Councils ability to meet the needs of residents given the current budget constraints. Without the change we are proposing through a referendum at the Council it is difficult to see how this is going to be resolved."
The Independent Group is in the process of delivering additional leaflets across the Borough. From the feedback received from residents the new leaflet can now also be used to support the petition by signing and returning it. Alongside the on-line petition this is proving to be widely supported.
Cheshire East Independent Councillor Amanda Stott, Bollington ward, who is collating the returned leaflets which they are in the process of delivering across the borough, commented "It is a sign of the strength of feeling that people are taking the trouble to sign our petition and then put it in the post. What started as a trickle of envelopes seems to be turning into a torrent."
Further information can be found at changecheshireeast.co.uk.
Photo: Independent Councillor Amanda Stott, Bollington Ward, opening the days mail.