The rush for new parishes gathers pace
The community of Deptford, London are looking to join thousands of other areas and bring power to local neighbourhoods by handing in a petition on 19 July 2016 to Lewisham Borough Council to create a new local (parish and town) council in the locality.
This follows ‘hot on the heels’ of over 200 local councils, which have been created over the last decade. This includes 11 new local councils, which have been established in recent years as direct result of support provided by NALC’s Create A Council campaign and its county associations in Macclesfield, Finham, Westgate, Kidderminster, Sutton Coldfield (Birmingham), Pannal, Kennington, South Willesbrough, Queens’s Park (London), Chadwick End and Bingley (Leeds).
Local councils are the most local tier of local government, at the very heart of the community, giving neighbourhoods a voice and helping people feel more involved in the decisions that affect them.
Currently only a third of the population is represented by local councils and NALC has been at the forefront of calls for a fundamental shift of stronger local democracy and a fundamental shift of power to local people, so that all of England is ‘parished’. So bringing a change in how people and communities can influence the way their lives are being run via public services.
Cllr Ken Browse, Chairman of NALC, said: "I’m delighted to support the campaign to set up a parish council in Deptford as this will give more power to the local people. It will provide the community with a democratic voice and an accountable structure for taking action on local priorities.
“Deptford joins the parish revolution that is taking place across the country with scores of communities in the process of setting up a new local council.
"There are already around 10,000 local councils in England, working towards improving community well-being and providing better services at a local level. They represent all local residents and businesses, enabling power to be devolved to those who know and care about their local community. They also aim to give tax-payers better value for money.
“It’s essential that we also develop a new approach to local democracy and local services at the most local level. That will enable us to put in place a bottom up neighbourhood democracy, which will help to bridge the disconnect between communities and power held at Westminster and Whitehall."
Ray Barron-Woolford, campaigner for Deptford Parish Council, said: “For far too long communities feel disengaged. Whether it is around betting shops, planning decisions, lack of youth service provision or pensioners lunch clubs. Giving local people a real voice on planning and licensing can the be the positive future of real community engagement.”