Town Council urges residents to have their say on plans to merge Wilmslow, Handforth and Chorley

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Cheshire East is holding a 12-week consultation on proposals for the governance arrangements for town and parish councils in the borough.

The key proposals for the Wilmslow area (Wilmslow, Handforth, Styal and Chorley) are as follows:

  • 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.

Wilmslow Town Council Chairman, Martin Watkins said, "It is important that residents have their say with the proposals, regardless of whether they agree or disagree with them, so we would encourage everyone to comment.

"I believe that the most significant aspect revolves around the statement on page 184 that states that Handforth and Wilmslow should be merged because "to all intents and purposes, they form a single community". Is Handforth part of Wilmslow, or is it a separate community that therefore requires separate governance? If you feel strongly one way or the other then I would encourage you to respond to the consultation.

"A basic response to the consultation takes around five minutes to do, so please do take the time if you can."

Comments on the consultation can be submitted online at https://surveys.cheshireeast.gov.uk/s/CGReview2/

The full proposals for the Wilmslow area (Wilmslow, Handforth, Chorley and Styal) can be found here.

Paper copies of the consultation can also be obtained from the library.

The deadline for comments on the consultation is 28th November 2021.

Tags:
Community Governance Review
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Comments

Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Laurie Atterbury
Friday 17th September 2021 at 8:49 am
The problem with these local government admin areas is that they disguise themselves as geographical regions. Examples that caused anger in communities are East Riding of Yorkshire becoming North Humberside; North Lincolnshire becoming South Humberside; since changed but it did annoy people. I was buying something online recently and the postcode I gave them in the billing info resulted that I live in Cheshire East! I do not live in Cheshire East, I live in Cheshire! Cheshire East is the local gov't admin region where I live. I didn't proceed with the purchase and the organisation didn't understand my point.
Nick Jones
Friday 17th September 2021 at 9:47 am
@ Laurie you make a very valid point ... there appears little value in merging the TC's / Parishes IMO... Cheshire as a small County should never have been divided into E and W.. and this is were some real tax payers / residents savings could be made in removing duplication of resources (for the same purpose) at both ends of the County...

' ... A phased reduction of about a hundred thousand people is 'not in the public interest'. Translation: It is in the public interest but it is not in the interest of the Civil Service ( Local Govt). 'Public opinion is not yet ready for such a step,' Translation: Public opinion is ready but the Civil Service ( Local Govt) is not !.. Sir Humphrey Appleby
Manuel Golding
Friday 17th September 2021 at 2:09 pm
Lauie and Nick: you are both right, this mindless thouhjt to split geographoc regions into multi parts is solely for the unCivil Service benefit, not for the local inhabitants. Most people in both Cheshire East and Cheshire West new council regions never had an inkling that their areas created difficulties for them or their neihjbours. It was on;y the administators who mastermonded a "problem". Now it is realised that their medling earlier has created a real problem for them, one they are unable to resolve without more jerrymandering as we see with their proposal to again analgamate Wilmslow with Handforh and with Styal i.e. back to pre 1982 Cheshire County. Instead of jugling about with the local communities, why don't these apparatchicks take a long holiday and leave us in peace; of course their jobs will go too and that cannot be a bad outcome.
Roger Small
Friday 17th September 2021 at 5:40 pm
Page 184 of the Cheshire East Council Community Governance Review Draft Recommendations (Publication Version) states that “Cheshire East Council considers that there will be merit in merging the existing parish of Handforth with the parish of Wilmslow as, to all intents and purposes, they form a single community”. We believe that this statement was simply plucked from the air by the Community Governance Review Sub-Committee - for it seems based on a complete lack of evidence. This belief is confirmed by an e-mail received (19/3/2021) from Brian Reed (Head of Democratic Services and Governance Cheshire East Council) that states “Secondly, on the matter of whether Handforth and Wilmslow constitute a single community, there is no specific evidence on this within the Draft Recommendations report.”
The allegation that Handforth and Wilmslow represent a single community has been refuted in the minutes of the meeting of Wilmslow Town Council held on 19th April 2021. It has also been refuted by Handforth Parish Councillor John Smith in his presentation to the meeting of the Cheshire East Council Constitution Committee held on 6th April 2021.
There is a wealth of evidence to suggest that Handforth and Wilmslow exist and function as two separate communities. For example Handforth is separated geographically from Wilmslow by the River Dean. In September 2009 a petition bearing the signatures of 720 Handforth residents was submitted to Cheshire East Council requesting that Handforth become a parish separate from that of Wilmslow. Handforth Parish Council was established in May 2011 and, for the past ten years, has served Handforth parish well.
That Handforth and Wilmslow represent two separate communities is also reflected in planning matters. An e-mail received (19/3/2021) from Brian Reed (Head of Democratic Services and Governance Cheshire East Council) states that “The Cheshire East Local Plan identifies Handforth and Wilmslow as two separate settlements for planning purposes”. It should be noted that Handforth Parish Council has always carried out its duty to send informed comment on Handforth-based proposals to the planning department of Cheshire East Council. In November 2016 Handforth Parish Council appointed a Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group. This group of local residents produced a Neighbourhood Plan for Handforth in near-record time, for it was adopted by Cheshire East Council on 10th August 2018.
Provision 100 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 relates to the issue of guidance by the Local Government Boundary Commission. Para 4 of provision 100 states that “A principal council must have regard to guidance issued under this section.” The Local Government Boundary Commission Guidance on Community Governance Reviews page 32, para 114 states that “Grouping or degrouping needs to be compatible with the retention of community interests. It would be inappropriate for it to be used to build artificially large units under single parish councils”.
Cheshire East Council are proposing to merge Handforth (the ninth largest parish in the borough with an electorate size of 5126) with Wilmslow (the 4th largest parish in the borough with and electorate size of 19,898) and Chorley (electorate size 386). Handforth councillors would have only 4 out of a total of 20 seats on the proposed expanded Wilmslow Town Council. The proposal to merge Handforth with Wilmslow and Chorley therefore cannot be reconciled with the need to retain community interests and involves the creation of an artificially large unit under a single parish council. By proposing the merger Cheshire East Council are failing to have due regard to the guidance issued by the Local Government Boundary Commission.
Laurie Atterbury
Friday 17th September 2021 at 5:43 pm
Just to demonstrate even more. I am a Londoner and have just looked up The Greater London Authority area. It now includes Bexley and Bromley, both if which I lived in as a child and young man. When I lived there Bexley and Bromley were in the county of Kent, and still are, geographically. We need to resist this .
Stuart Redgard
Friday 17th September 2021 at 7:21 pm
#Laurie Atterbury

According to Wikipedia, the counties of England are areas used for different purposes, which include administrative, geographical, cultural, and political demarcation. The term 'county' is defined in several ways and can apply to similar or the same areas used by each of these demarcation structures.[1] These different types of county each have a more formal name but are commonly referred to just as 'counties'. The current arrangement is the result of incremental reform.

The original county structure has its origins in the Middle Ages. These counties are often referred to as historic, traditional, or former counties.

The Local Government Act 1888 created new areas for organising local government that it called administrative counties and county boroughs. These administrative areas adopted the names of, and closely resembled the areas of, the traditional counties. Later legislative changes to the new local government structure led to the greater distinction between the traditional and the administrative counties.

I still call myself a Yorkshireman even though the historic county of Yorkshire longer exists.
Gemma Evans
Monday 20th September 2021 at 1:59 pm
Nick Jones - Cheshire East has a population of 380,000, this is larger than many other unitary authorities. For example, Wigan's population is 300,000 while Newcastle's is 293,000. Had Cheshire become one unitary authority it would have been a very large one, much bigger than Manchester, Salford or Liverpool.

While Cheshire County Council responsibilities were split between two councils. Cheshire East also absorbed responsibilities of three borough councils, while Cheshire West absorbed responsibilities of one borough council and one city council.

Had a unitary Cheshire council been created then we probably would have seen more boroughs becoming independent from the large Cheshire council, like Halton and Warrington did in the 1990s.
Brian Mcgavin
Wednesday 22nd September 2021 at 3:06 pm
As has been noted by some here, the continual changing of local boundaries is a bureaucratic game that costs local taxpayers money. Consultations are often ignored if it doesn't suit councillors pet plans. Years ago they decided to split Handforth from Wilmslow to create more mini bureaucracies when Handforth, Wilmslow and Alderley Edge are in effect one continuous urban area. Cheshire Council ignored the public referendum vote to keep the county together, just as people in Greater London voted against the Congestion Charge, but the major at the time, Ken Livingstone, ignored this too and imposed the costly charge.
Gemma Evans
Friday 24th September 2021 at 3:48 pm
A referendum is never legally binding, it's just to advise politicians of the opinion of the public. The late Margaret Thatcher was keen to get the opinion of the public, not because she wanted to implement the policies the public wanted but because she wanted to know where her policies weren't liked by the public, allowing her to try and convince the public to change their minds.
Stuart Redgard
Friday 24th September 2021 at 6:42 pm
Brian McGavin

The legislation only states that consultations have to be carried out. It does not say that that the authority carrying out the consultation has to take any notice of the feedback it recieves.

If you want it to be changed then I suggest you raise this with your MP.
Richard Stain
Sunday 26th September 2021 at 6:33 pm
The Cheshire East review document on changing Parish boundaries states " the purpose of the review is .....to ensure that community governance arrangements continue to reflect local identities.........."

So who on earth thought that merging Chorley, a purely rural parish, with Handforth, a purely urban parish met this criteria?

Chorley would like to manage it's own affairs, and certainly not get involved the antics that seem to go on in Handforth.

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