The Cumbrian town of Whitehaven is the latest community in England to get the go ahead for a new town council following a campaign by residents to give local people more power.
At a meeting last Thursday, Copeland’s district councillors approved the creation of the new town council, following in the footsteps neighbours in Eden who recently gave the thumbs up for the creation of a new council for Penrith. Both councils will be established in April, with elections being held in May.
A consultation with residents in Whitehaven showed 75 per cent of local people supported a town council, with two thirds of local people in Penrith voting in favour of establishing their own town council in a ballot.
The population of the parished areas of Cumbria will increase from around 66% to around 74%, leaving only Barrow and Carlisle without grassroots local democracy.
Cllrr Ken Browse, Chairman of the National Association of Local Councils said: “I’m delighted Penrith and Whitehaven residents have voted so overwhelmingly for their own town councils, bringing power and decision making closer to home. This is a real shot in the arm for local democracy and living proof of the case and appetite for devolution to our neighbourhoods, villages and towns as well as to the UK’s nations and cities."
“Dozens more communities up and down the country are campaigning to set up a new parish or town council and we will continue to do all we can to provide the much needed help and support residents need to give themselves more of a voice and a democratic structure for taking action to improve their area.”