Cheshire East Council is urging residents not to miss out on having their say on plans to merge the parishes of Wilmslow, Handforth and Chorley and increase the number of seats on Alderley Edge Parish Council.
There are currently 9 members of the Parish Council, however Cheshire East is recommending that this is increased to 12 seats stating "Alderley Edge has a relatively low number of seats for a council of its size. Cheshire East Council recommends an increase to twelve seats, which is consistent with the Borough average for a council with this number of electors.
The local authority is urging people to take part in a consultation on proposals for the governance arrangements for town and parish councils in the borough – by the deadline of 28th November.
The 12-week consultation began on 6th September as part of a borough-wide review, as Cheshire East is responsible for the governance and electoral arrangements for the borough's 186 town and parish council wards in 135 town and parish councils.
The review, which follows central government and Local Government Boundary Commission for England guidance, is to ensure community governance arrangements continue to reflect local identities and facilitate convenient and effective local government.
As communities change over time, government guidance advises a review of town and parish governance every 10-15 years, to ensure the arrangements are fit for purpose. The last one was done before Cheshire East Council was created in 2009.
The review looks at a range of issues, including town and parish boundaries, numbers of town and parish councillors, grouping of parishes and warding.
The Community Governance Review draft recommendations report makes a series of draft proposals for consultation, beginning with parishes where no changes are being proposed, to other relatively minor proposals, and, finally, to more significant area or boundary changes – largely adjoining the borough's urban parishes – which have a knock-on effect for surrounding parishes. Maps showing the details of potential boundary changes can be found via this link.
The key proposals for the Wilmslow area (Wilmslow, Handforth, Styal and Chorley) are as follows:
- The number of seats on Alderley Edge Parish Council should be increased from 9 to 12.
- Wilmslow, Handforth and Chorley parishes should merge to become a single community called Wilmslow.
- Handforth should become a single parish ward within the merged parishes.
- The new housing development between Clay Lane and Sagars Road should be transferred to the proposed enlarged parish of Wilmslow.
- The number of seats on Wilmslow Town Council should be increased from 15 to 20.
Councillor Sam Corcoran, chair of Cheshire East's corporate policy committee, and leader of the council, said: "We have had more than 2,000 responses so far, but we want to make sure that people don't miss out on the chance to have their say and share their views in this important matter.
"Reviewing community governance arrangements for town and parish councils is normal good practice and I would encourage people to take part in the online consultation.
"The current governance arrangements date from before Cheshire East was formed and there has since been considerable change to our settlements, the population, and its distribution. This review and consultation offer an opportunity to ensure that town and parish arrangements meet local needs and are fit for purpose for the future."
The public consultation, which ends at midnight on 28 November 2021, can be accessed via: https://surveys.cheshireeast.gov.uk/s/CGReview2/
Paper copies of the consultation can also be obtained from local libraries. People are urged to send in their completed paper forms as soon as possible. All responses should be based on the proposals contained in the official consultation documents. The aim is to complete the review process well before the scheduled local elections in May 2023.
This review of community governance does not include the electoral arrangements for borough council or parliamentary seats. These would be the responsibility of Whitehall (the Local Government Boundary Commission and the Boundary Commission for England, respectively) and are not currently proposed.