‘Abolish Hatfield Town Council’ – MP Shapps
PUBLISHED: 11:57 31 January 2011 | UPDATED: 13:49 03 February 2011
HATFIELD Town Council has been branded “pointless” and should be abolished.
That’s the view of Welwyn Hatfield MP and local government minister Grant Shapps.
This week, he is leading calls for the authority to be scrapped – or its costs scaled back.
Hatfield is the most expensive place to live in the entire borough.
That is largely thanks to the precept commanded by the town council, as part of the council tax.
The bill for Band D taxpayers in Hatfield is £1,527.46 this year.
In WGC, where there is no town council and therefore no extra precept to pay, the Band D bill is more than £50 less at £1,475.02.
Residents in the various villages in Welwyn Hatfield that pay a parish council precept also have a lower bill than people in Hatfield.
Mr Shapps told the WHT: “It cannot be right people in Hatfield pay more to live there than anywhere else in the borough.
“I think people in Hatfield are fed up with paying more.
“The town council is pointless, and I think the time has come for a campaign to back either its abolition, or its costs being dramatically slashed.”
Mr Shapps said there was a “large crossover” with services and facilities run by both the borough and county councils, which could easily be incorporated.
Town councillor Mick Clark, a former town mayor of Hatfield, said there had been previous attempts to abolish the authority – but a vote did not generate the required level of interest to force a formal review.
But he admitted it should be up to townspeople to decide.
He said: “It’s been tried before and will be tried again.
“It’s the will of the people in the town whether they want it or not. I would say anything that’s going to save them a bit of money, people will vote for.”
Cllr Clark added Hatfield residents felt “disenfranchised” as they paid more tax compared to those living in WGC, who were seen as much better off.
But, he added, despite an overlap of services with what the borough and county provided, it was a “historical” issue as Hatfield had had a parish or town council for more than 100 years.