Agenda item

Crewe Community Governance Review - First Stage Consultation

The initial consultation with stakeholders and the public took place between 14 November and 16 December 2011 and the feedback received was considered by the Sub Committee on 20 December 2011.  At that meeting it was agreed to extend the general period of consultation to 29 February 2012, along with a postal ballot of electors for the unparished area of Crewe which took place from 1 – 29 February.  The wording for the ballot paper was agreed by the Sub Committee based on the feedback received, which indicated a level of support only for the option of a single Town Council for Crewe.


Members are asked to take into account the following feedback received and to consider and determine its recommendation to the Constitution Committee on 22 March 2012.  The Constitution Committee will subsequently make a recommendation to Council for the draft outcome of the review.  A further period of consultation will then take place on the draft.


a) Results of the consultation with electors

b) Additional representations received since 16 December


Members considered the outcome of the Stage 1 consultation which had concluded on 29th February 2012. The Sub-Committee now had to determine its advice to the Constitution Committee on the formulation of the Council’s draft recommendation. The Constitution Committee would be meeting on 22nd March 2012 and would consider the Sub-Committee’s advice at that meeting.


In addition to the briefing paper considered earlier in the meeting, Members had before them the outcome of the ballot of local electors and other representations received from the public and stakeholders during the first round of consultation.


The initial phase of consultation had included written representations received in response to public notices, specific invitations, a website tool and information leaflets.  Two public meetings had been held in September to give members of the public the opportunity to learn more about the review and to express their views in a public forum. Further opportunities had subsequently been provided to provide information at various community events during November and December 2011. The Council’s website had also been used as a source of information and as a tool for people to use to record their views. Finally, a voting paper had been sent to electors in Crewe to be returned by 29th February.


The ballot of local electors had taken place throughout the month of February 2012 and the result was as follows:



No of voting papers received













Leighton (unparished)












There was therefore a clear majority in favour of a single town council for Crewe, both within the unparished area as a whole and in the unparished area of Leighton taken separately.


The vote represented a 32% turnout and Members of the Sub-Committee were satisfied that this was sufficient to represent the views of the electors of Crewe.


Members also had before them a summary of other public and stakeholder responses to the initial stage of consultation. These also showed a clear preference for a single town council.


Members then considered whether the potential cost implications of setting up and running a town council had been adequately highlighted and addressed in the consultation publicity and were satisfied that they had been.


Finally, reference was made to a potential mechanism under the Localism Act 2011 which would allow the introduction of a form of community governance known as a community trust. Members considered whether it was appropriate to include this option in the current review. It was noted that there was insufficient information on community trusts at present and that guidance was awaited. Indeed, the option of a community trust was neither contemplated nor available when the community governance process began and it could be considered inappropriate to include it as an option at a point when the review was well advanced. Given this, and the fact that the consultation response so far had not favoured any form of governance option other than a single town council, Members concluded that it would be inappropriate to consider community trusts as part of the current review.


In considering the results of the Stage 1 consultation and formulating its recommendations, the Sub-Committee had regard to the need to ensure that community governance within the area under review would be:


  • Reflective of the identities and interests of the community in that area; and
  • Effective and convenient.


Members considered the detailed electoral and warding arrangements for a parish council. It was suggested that the number of wards for the new parish should be six and that the existing Borough ward areas could be used for this, except that the unparished area of Leighton could be included in the St Barnabas parish ward. It was further suggested that the number of parish councillors for each ward could mirror that of the respective Borough ward. This would produce a parish council of 10 councillors.


Members agreed that the new parish council should be recommended to consider its designation as a Town Council.


It was suggested that the first formal elections to the new parish council should take place in May 2015, the date of the next ordinary parish elections throughout the Borough. Members had regard to the fact that the Council had powers to appoint a temporary parish council up to 2015 and it was suggested that the members of the Crewe Local Service Delivery Committee could be appointed as the members of the temporary parish council. A temporary parish council would have all the legal powers of an elected parish council in that it could appoint a clerk and other staff, exercise powers, provide services and raise a precept.


Subject to the outcome of the consideration of this matter by the Constitution Committee and full Council, the Stage 2 consultation would take place over a three week period in May. A further meeting of the Sub-Committee would be arranged to consider the arrangements for the Stage 2 consultation.



That the Constitution Committee be advised that pursuant to Section 87 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007; and having regard to the provisions of the Department for Communities and Local Government and Electoral Commission Guidance, issued in April 2008, for the conduct of Community Governance Reviews:


1.      Having taken into account


  1. the results of the consultation with the electors of the unparished area of Crewe which shows that a majority of those who returned their ballot papers were in favour of a new parish council for their area;


  1. the results of the consultation exercise with stakeholders and the representations from other interested persons;


  1. the outcomes of the public meetings held in Crewe and subsequent publicity and consultation arrangements; and


  1. the information on existing community governance arrangements in the area concerned and the alternative forms of community governance which might have been appropriate for the area in question;


2.      Council be advised


a.                  that the interests of effective and convenient local government and community identities in the area would be served by the creation of a new parish with a parish council for the unparished area of Crewe and that parish council be advised to consider its designation as a Town Council;


b.                  that the parish should be divided into 6 wards for the purposes of election to the Parish Council, such wards to be coterminous with the existing Borough wards except that the unparished part of Leighton (Polling District 3FJ5) be incorporated into the St Barnabas parish ward, and that each ward should have the same number of parish councillors as Borough Councillors as follows:


St Barnabas (inc part of Leighton)


Crewe Central


Crewe North


Crewe South


Crewe East


Crewe West





c.                  that the first year of elections to the new parish council should be 2015;


d.                  that in the intervening period, as soon as the community review governance process allows, a temporary parish council be appointed by the Borough Council, to comprise the members of the Crewe Local Service Delivery Committee; and


e.                  that these proposals form the basis of a second stage of public consultations and that the Boundary Commission be informed of these proposals.


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