Councillors on the Policy and Resources committee of Basildon Council have this week (Wednesday 13 November) voted to review how decisions are made at every level of the borough.

Large parts of the borough already have a local (town/parish council) and the council had recently started a review, following a petition from residents to create a Town Council in Wickford. It has now been agreed that a Community Governance Review of the whole borough should be undertaken to seek the views of residents in other unparished areas of the borough about whether they feel a local council in the area would be beneficial.

The committee recognised that local councils have the ability to significantly contribute to the local area and that local councils could be ideally placed to take ownership of local community assets and services from the council as well as make decisions about and run these for the benefit of the community. As a result, work will be undertaken alongside the community governance review to consider the enhanced role that local councils could play and their relationship with the borough council.

The committee also agreed to establish a Shadow Town Council in Wickford while the wider review goes ahead. Any resident of Wickford that is interested in being a member of this shadow town council should email the council at elections@basildon.gov.uk as soon as possible to register their interest as it is planned to appoint to this shadow council by the end of this year. The full Community Governance Review will then conduct consultation next year for final recommendations in November 2020.

Gavin Callaghan, Basildon Council Leader, said, "I firmly believe in communities being as involved as possible in decisions about their areas and the devolution of services to the local level. Local councils provide a real means of doing this. The reviews being undertaken will help the council to understand how enhanced devolution of services to the local level might effectively work across the whole borough and understand the views of residents, particularly in those unparished areas.

"I am pleased that a Shadow Town Council in Wickford will be established to build upon the work local residents have undertaken to date, and lay firm foundations for any future Town Council."

ENDS

Published: Friday 15 November 2019