Congleton MP encourages consultation participation to protect Somerford Parish Council

  Posted: 22.11.21 at 11:12 by Alexander Greensmith

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Congleton MP Fiona Bruce has joined with five Conservative colleagues to encourage the public to participate in a survey, on the political future of local villages.

Central government guidance advises a review of town and parish governance every 10-15 years, to ensure the arrangements are fit for purpose.

The last one was done before Cheshire East Council was created in 2009, and the deadline to participate in the current one is fast-approaching.

The last day for the public consultation on proposals for the governance arrangements for town and parish councils in the borough is on November 28.

All Members of Parliament representing constituencies in Cheshire East are campaigning together to speak up for their local villages, and help protect their identities, in response to Cheshire East Council’s Community Governance Review on the future responsibilities and boundaries of local councils in our area.

At a recent meeting of the Conservative MPs in Parliament, Congleton's MP of 11 years joined her colleagues in addressing strong concerns about the plans, which will see the closure or merger of many parish and local councils across the Borough of Cheshire East.

There are fears taking away a parish council could make villagers lose their voice in local democracy.

Fiona Bruce MP is concerned that Somerford Parish Council will lose its individual identity and ability to represent its residents, as they best deserve.

This is a similar story across Cheshire East, where other villages will be brought into areas represented by larger town councils, causing even greater concern about how their unique characters will be able to endure.

The Parliamentarians are raising awareness of the varying and complex impacts of the plans, which are currently being consulted on, and when finalised will be implemented before the scheduled local elections in May 2023.

And while they are in the Macclesfield parliamentary constituency, there are three parishes close to Congleton which are also under threat.

Eaton, Marton and North Rode Parish Councils each want to see plans to merge their Councils rejected, so they can keep their individual identities.

Save our Somerford: The 'SOS' campaign is trying to stop the village of 500 losing their parish council.

Congleton residents can express their views in the public consultation on Cheshire East Council’s Community Governance Review here.

After their meeting, the Cheshire East MPs issued a joint statement, saying:

"Cheshire East Council’s Community Governance Review is causing widespread concern in local rural communities and villages across the Borough of Cheshire East.

“We would urge as many local residents as possible to take part in the consultation and set out their views. If you have any questions, please contact your local MP.

“It’s time to show active support for our rural communities, our local identities, and our County’s heritage over the crucial days ahead.”

Fiona Bruce has been Congleton's MP since May 2010. (Image - Richard Townshend)

The consultation started in early September, and ends at midnight on Sunday 28 November 2021.

Paper copies of the consultation can also be obtained from local libraries such as Congleton Library on Market Square, but please bear in mind there are just six days to go.

Somerford Parish Council also held hosting in-person events this past weekend for their 'Save our Somerford' campaign.

This included completing in-person surveys, and petitions. In a statement, they said:

"Thank you so much to everyone who has voted so far. It has also been a great opportunity for us all to meet and chat with so many of you over the past few weeks.

For those of you who are yet to vote, it is so important to add your voice. All members of the household can take part.

"It is important that Cheshire East receive views from all who wish to vote.
This is our chance to send a strong message for our community."

Anyone 16 or over can participate in the survey, which can be found here.

See also: Claims Congleton MP Fiona Bruce earned £400,000 in a year from second job

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