Parish councils under threat

Macclesfield’s MP, David Rutley,is adding his voice to concerns from many villages about how plans in Cheshire East Council’s Community Governance Review will have a damaging impact on the identity of local rural communities.

On Friday, David met members of Gawsworth Parish Council and Cllr Lesley Smetham, Cheshire East Councillor for Gawsworth to discuss the Governance Review launched on Monday 6th September. 

Local councillors explained how the latest plans would lead to residents in the Gawsworth Moss area becoming part of Macclesfield Town Council, which would expand from 12 to 24 councillors. These plans would see more homes currently represented by a rural Parish Council being absorbed into a much larger Town Council and increase the fundraising capabilities of that larger Council. They were also concerned that the plans would weaken the voice of local residents in the affected area in opposing future proposed housing developments.

Cheshire East Council is to press ahead with this proposal despite Gawsworth Parish Council having carried out a survey in the Gawsworth Moss area in 2019, which showed very strong support from 88 % of responding local residents to stay part of the area represented by Gawsworth Parish Council. The active Parish Council then followed up with a petition opposing the proposals, which was signed by 155 local residents.

Other villages have also expressed their strong concerns to David who met residents in Lyme Green, who are also opposed to becoming part of a larger Macclesfield Town Council.

Eaton, Marton and North Rode Parish Councils want to see plans to merge these Councils rejected and there is additional opposition to proposals that would bring Macclesfield Forest, Wildboarclough, Wincle and the rural parts of Sutton Parish Council into a new Council.

Local residents now have the chance to express their views in the public consultation on Cheshire East Council’s Community Governance Review, which can be accessed here: The consultation runs from Monday 6th September and ends at midnight on 28 November 2021. Paper copies of the consultation can also be obtained from local libraries. Cheshire East Council aims to complete the process well before the scheduled local elections in May 2023.

After the meeting, David said, “It’s time to speak up for the rural communities affected by Cheshire East Council’s proposals. We need to go on protecting the integrity and unique identities of our local villages and I will continue to campaign with impacted local communities to object to the plans that have been set out in the consultation. I would urge as many local residents as possible to actively support our rural communities by expressing their views in the consultation over the weeks ahead.”

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