NALC demands Spitalfields residents are given a referendum on a new local council
The National Association of Local Councils (NALC) has urged the London Borough of Tower Hamlets principal authority to hold a referendum on proposals to create a new local (parish and town) council in Spitalfields.
Campaigners in favour of establishing London's second local council submitted a petition to the principal authority in July 2018, which triggered a community governance review – a 12-month process that involves consulting local residents over community arrangements.
The Spitalfields and Banglatown Town Council Campaign, a diverse community group of different age, genders and backgrounds, have voiced concerns about the process including how the results are calculated and presented. The first phase of the consultation showed 58% of residents in the new council catchment area, who responded to an official online form were in favour of the proposal. However, unofficial paper-based forms (around 45% of the full data collected), were submitted to the principal authority and were 100% against.
NALC and the campaign group voiced concerns to councillors at the Tower Hamlet cabinet meeting on 27 June 2019, chaired by Mayor John Biggs.
Justin Griggs, head of policy and communications at NALC, said: “Several new local councils were created this year and had their first elections in May. A real sign of the growing democracy that communities want across England to make a difference and invest in local services.
“It has long been NALC's view that the community governance review process is out-of-date and needs some reform. I would urge councillors to hold a referendum to maintain the integrity and public confidence in this process.”
A full Tower Hamlet council meeting is due to consider a final report on the community governance review on 17 July.