Agenda and minutes

Community Governance Review Sub-Committee - Tuesday, 20th December, 2011 10.30 am

Venue: Municipal Executive Suite - Municipal Buildings, Earle Street, Crewe CW1 2BJ. View directions

Contact: Paul Mountford  Democratic Services Officer

No. Item


Declarations of Interest

To provide an opportunity for Members and Officers to declare any personal and/or prejudicial interests in any item on the agenda.


Councillor R Cartlidge declared a personal interest in the Crewe Community Governance Review as the Mayor of Crewe and as a Crewe Charter Trustee.



Public Speaking Time/Open Session

In accordance with Procedure Rules Nos.11 and 35 a period of 10 minutes is allocated for members of the public to address the meeting on any matter relevant to the work of the meeting. Individual members of the public may speak for up to 5 minutes but the Chairman or person presiding will decide how the period of time allocated for public speaking will be apportioned where there are a number of speakers. Members of the public are not required to give notice to use this facility. However, as a matter of courtesy, a period of 24 hours’ notice is encouraged.


Members of the public wishing to ask a question at the meeting should provide at least three clear working days’ notice in writing and should include the question with that notice. This will enable an informed answer to be given.




There were no members of the public present.


Minutes of Previous meeting pdf icon PDF 44 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 21st October 2011.





That the minutes of the meeting held on 21st October 2011 be approved as a correct record.


Feedback on Consultation with Stakeholders pdf icon PDF 53 KB

The four week consultation period with interested parties has been undertaken with effect from 14th November until 16th December 2011.  Responses will be collated and circulated at the meeting for consideration.



The four week consultation period with key stakeholders/interested parties had taken place from 14th November to 16th December 2011.


137 emails and 61 letters had been sent to stakeholders. By the date of the Sub-Committee’s meeting, 62 responses had been received by letter, email or online response form. 87% of respondents supported a Town/ Parish Council as their highest preference.




That the outcome of the initial consultation exercise be noted.



Community Governance Project Plan pdf icon PDF 86 KB

A copy of the updated project plan is attached for Members’ consideration. 



The community governance project plan had been updated and circulated to the Sub-Committee for consideration.




That the revised community governance project plan be approved.



Next Stage of Consultation - Ballot of Electors

The next stage of consultation, as outlined in the project plan, is to conduct a ballot of electors in Crewe. This is proposed to take place in February 2012. It should be noted that the result of the ballot is not binding in the way that a formal election would be; there are many factors which the Council will need to take into account in reaching a decision, in addition to the result of the ballot. However, the Council will need to demonstrate that the views expressed have been taken into account in reaching a decision on the outcome of the Review; the ballot will form a major element of that consultation.        


Using the analysis of the responses from stakeholders and the public, the Sub-Committee is asked to give initial consideration to the  wording of the ballot paper.



The Sub-Committee considered the next stage of the process in light of the response from the stakeholder consultation.


The key issues for consideration were the wording of the ballot paper and the associated publicity/information leaflets.


In view of the public and stakeholder feedback to date, Members felt that the wording of the ballot paper should simply ask whether there should be a single town council for Crewe. It was agreed that the question to be asked should be a positive one, ie “Do you want a single town council for Crewe”, rather than a negatively worded question such as whether the voter objected to such a proposal.


In considering the wording for the ballot paper it was felt that there was no evidence of support for more than one parish council. A significant percentage of consultees had specifically expressed a preference for a single town council, whereas no such support had been voiced specifically to request more than one parish council. In addition, in carrying out the previous Crewe Community Governance Review in 2009/10 there had been relatively low support for the option of four parish councils on the ballot paper at that time (20.8% of those who expressed a preference had opted for 4 separate parish councils, as opposed to 79.2% of electors who had expressed a preference for a single town council).  The Sub-Committee also noted the call from electors for a simple question on the ballot paper. One consultee had specifically requested the ballot paper question to be “Do you want a Town Council for Crewe” and similar pleas had been made at the public meetings held in September 2011.               


There was some discussion about the implications of a low turnout in the ballot and whether any particular motive could be attributed to those who had not voted. It was suggested that the information leaflet accompanying the ballot paper could include a comment to the effect that a failure to vote would be interpreted to mean that the individual was not opposed to the establishment of a town council. The Officers advised that such a comment should only be included as a direct quote from a particular Member and should not appear to be the opinion of the Council as it could leave the Council open to challenge. The Officers undertook to seek legal advice on the suggestion.


It was agreed that for clarity, the period of the ballot should be for the whole of the month of February 2012.


Members noted that the Leighton ward of Crewe was partly unparished and that the unparished part included approximately 400 electors who would be included in the ballot. It may be that if given a choice, some or all of those electors would prefer to be included in Leighton parish. It was agreed that the printing of the ballot paper should allow for the analysis of responses by polling district in Leighton.


Members turned their attention to the publicity arrangements for  ...  view the full minutes text for item 29.


Date of Next Meeting


Thursday, 26th January 2012 at 9.30 am at Westfields.