Parish council could benefit Brighouse . . .

Craig Whittaker Conservative PPC for Calder Valley.
Craig Whittaker Conservative PPC for Calder Valley.

CALDER valley’s MP Craig Whittaker thinks a parish council could benefit Brighouse.

But it would need to run correctly and have a hard-working town clerk.

Mr Whittaker who used to be a parish councillor in Heptinstall before becoming a councillor for Calderdale Council said he knows first hand how effective and productive they can be.

“I think it is a really good device to ensure that local people really do get an input into the localism agenda,” he said.

“I am in favour of parish councils but there are some draw backs to them. One is how effectively run they are. They obviously have tax in the form of the precept and providing that is controlled by having an incredibly good clerk that works incredibly well. But when costs run away and they start having lots of people they don’t become value for money.

“It also doesn’t work if it is just another vehicle for borough councillors to get elected and have another voice.

“I was a parish councillor and when I became a borough councillor I stepped down from the parish council. You need to have a nice mix of expertise rather than just having the same.”

Members of United Brighouse are looking into the possibility of setting up a parish council in Brighouse and are asking for people’s opinions.

They want to hear from anyone who is either for or against the idea to get in touch so they can gather the best way forward.

Chair of the group, Jason Costello, said it would have huge benefits for Brighouse at only £3 per month.

He said they would be able to apply for extra grants which means they could look at improving the skate park at Wellholme Park, Brighouse, as just one example.

“The town council would build on the great work already carried out by Brighouse Business Initiative,” he said.

But resident Bob Acheson said: “Personally I think we have enough people pontificating uselessly in Brighouse.

“They just love getting their picture and views into the press whilst promising the earth and doing very little, always with good excuses.

“We have enough layers of government without adding another costly layer. If we could get rid of Calderdale and re-introduce Brighouse Council, I would be all in favour but that is unlikely to happen I’m afraid.”

United Brighouse would like to know:

Should Brighouse have a town council in order to promote economic development and have more autonomy?

Bearing the extra £3 in mind a month, should it have a town council?

If a town council was passed should it be apolitical?

What do you think about Brighouse having a parish council? Will it be an advantage or a disadvantage?

Let us know your views by emailing michaela.maunders@brighouseecho.co.uk send us your tweets or visit our Facebook page Brighouse Echo.