Do we want a parish council?

BRIGHOUSE could get its own parish council providing enough people are in favour of it.

Calderdale Council’s leader, Janet Battye, has told Brighouse councillor Colin Stout (Ind) that she is in favour of the town having its own council but she needs to know the strength of feeling and its likely boundaries before it can go any further.

“She wants to know how people feel about having a council. The main concern people have is the extra cost on their council tax bill but Jason Boom, clerk to Hebden Royd Parish Council, told members of United Brighouse that their extra charge amounts to about £58 a year which equates to just over a £1 a week. For this their councillors get to use the council offices and get an input into planning committee,” said Coun Stout.

“I feel by spending a little extra on our council tax bills it will result in Brighouse getting a lot more.”

If a parish council was brought into Brighouse it would be separated into polling areas. For example, there would be three councillors for the Hove Edge area, three for the Whinney Hill and Smith House areas, three for Waring Green, three for central and three for Clifton, all of which would be unpaid.

“If enough people are in favour of a parish council in the area then we would have to have a referendum in the areas where the parish council would cover asking if people are for or against.

“We would then have several public meetings where people can air their concerns and we will talk about both the positives and the negatives,” said Coun Stout, who also intends to discuss it at the next ward forum.

“The main negative is the extra charge but I personally can’t see that being anymore than a £1 or £2 a week on the council tax but the benefits, I feel, would outweigh that.”

He said when Mr Boom visited United Brighouse he talked about the different projects the parish council has been involved in with businesses and the local community.

“If we had a parish council we could dictate what we want in Brighouse rather than people from outside the area telling us. But first I need to know how people feel and if they would be happy to have a parish council.

“I am also very happy for the people of Rastrick to be included and if any of the surrounding areas wish to join then we could include them once it is established.

“I want everyone to have a say. I want people to say how we can improve the lives of people in Brighouse and how we can take control of how we approach the borough council with issues that concern the people of Brighouse,” he said.

n Do you think Brighouse should have a parish council? Tell us your views by emailing stephen.firth@brighouseecho.co.uk