Wilmslow Town Council voted to oppose the merger of Wilmslow Town Council, Handforth Town Council and Chorley Parish Council at their meeting on Monday, 4th October.
Cheshire East Council is proposing that Wilmslow, Handforth and Chorley parishes should merge to become a single community called Wilmslow and the new housing development of 185 properties between Clay Lane and Sagars Road be transferred from the parish of Styal to the enlarged parish of Wilmslow. The number of seats on Wilmslow Town Council would be increased from 15 to 20.
Additionally the Council is recommending that Styal remains a separate parish, with an increase to eight seats on their Parish Council and Alderley Edge Parish Council is increased from 9 to 12 members.
The above recommendations are the result of a borough-wide review carried out by Cheshire East which follows Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and Local Government Boundary Commission for England guidance, is to ensure that community governance arrangements 'continue to reflect local identities and facilitate effective and convenient local government'.
The review looks at a range of issues, including town and parish boundaries, numbers of town and parish councillors, grouping of parishes and warding.
Wilmslow Town Council Chairman, Martin Watkins, stated, "Cheshire East's proposals are based on the incorrect assumption that Wilmslow, Handforth and Chorley are a single community. This is not the case. Wilmslow, Handforth and Chorley are three distinct and separate communities and should be represented by their own, separate Councils.
"As recently as 2011, Wilmslow and Handforth residents voted on local council arrangements, leading to the present, satisfactory, parish areas. The formation of Wilmslow and Handforth Councils has strengthened the community identities of these two areas. Chorley has never been part of Wilmslow and does not identify itself as part of the Wilmslow area.
"We urge all residents to comment on the consultation - a basic response takes around five minutes to do."
Cheshire East is holding a 12-week consultation on the proposals for the governance arrangements for the borough's 186 town and parish council wards in 135 town and parish councils which can be accessed via: https://surveys.cheshireeast.gov.uk/s/CGReview2/
This consultation stage provides people and stakeholder bodies with an opportunity to make the case for alternative proposals or to endorse the draft proposals as they are.
Councillor Sam Corcoran, chair of Cheshire East's corporate policy committee, and leader of the council, said: "Reviewing the community governance arrangements for all our town and parish councils is normal good practice and I would encourage people to take part in the online consultation and share their views on the proposals.
"The current governance arrangements date from before Cheshire East Council was formed and there has since been considerable change to our settlements, the population, and its distribution. This review and consultation on proposals offer an opportunity to ensure that town and parish arrangements meet local needs and are fit for purpose for the years ahead."
The consultation ends at midnight on 28 November 2021. Paper copies of the consultation can also be obtained from local libraries. The aim is to complete the process well before the scheduled local elections in May 2023.