Colnbrook residents excluded from surprise referendum on Parish Council abolition
Residents of the parishes of Britwell and Wexham Court are being given the chance to vote on the future of their parish councils, Slough Borough Council has announced today in a surprise move. However, Colnbrook will be excluded.
Despite a majority of respondents locally demanding change, Colnbrook residents will be excluded from a referendum on abolition of their Parish Councils to be held by Slough Borough Council.
As part of the council’s Community Governance Review, the council has contracted Electoral Reform Services to run the poll, in a surprise move announced today. The poll will seek views on the future existence of the parishes of Britwell and Wexham Park.
The community governance review was launched earlier this year and initial findings recommended the dissolution of the Wexham Court and Britwell parish councils.
The poll questions will be sent to all electors in the two parishes on Friday 20 September, and will ask a simple yes / no question of residents:
- Do you support the option that Wexham Court parish council be abolished? or
- Do you support the option that Britwell parish council be abolished?
Residents in Britwell will also be asked whether they agree with proposed boundary changes to be made to the parish council area whilst the decision is being made on abolition.
There was deep disinterest in the Review in all three parishes. The low participation required the deadline to be extended due to lack of responses.
However, the Council’s decision in July to give Colnbrook with Poyle Parish Council a stay of execution until 2015 denies residents here the same rights. The majority respondents in the parish of Colnbrook with Poyle voiced dissatisfaction with the current arrangements.
Despite many comments about the benefits of hanging baskets and Christmas lighting, 58% of contributors voiced concern about the Parish Council’s unwillingness to engage, hostility to other community groups, and in-fighting.
And when views of organisations benefitting financially from the Parish coffers were set aside, an overwhelming 72% of respondents strongly favoured change.
the review group cited the Parish Council’s work in building a “cohesive community” and the efforts of parish councillors to make the parish a better place in which to live and work, while acknowledging a huge discrepancy between the three parish councils in terms of services they claimed to provide and funding.
Residents in Colnbrook with Poyle may still comment on the Community Governance Review recommendations online before the 14 October.
Residents in Britwell and Wexham Court will receive leaflets to explain the poll, with their voting slip which will needd to be returned to Electoral Reform Services by noon on the 14 October 2013.
Councillor James Swindlehurst, chair of the community governance review group, said:
“The review group has spent months hearing evidence from individuals, residents, local groups and interested parties before producing its proposals for the future.
“Now all the residents in the parishes of Britwell and Wexham Court get the chance to directly have their say in a formal vote on the review group’s recommendations.
“I would encourage people fill in the postal questionnaire and give their views.”