Welwyn Garden City ‘needs its own town council’

WGC should have a town council, according to a resident who has called on Welwyn Hatfield Council to undertake a review.

There are currently eight town and parish councils across the borough and Anthony Fisher believes it is time WGC had an extra level of democracy.

The Homerfield resident has pushed the council on setting up a community governance review.

“Parish councils are the foundation stones for local government so without them what have we got?” Mr Fisher, 65, said.

“With all the talk of localism from the Government, you’d think the council would be in favour of this.

“However, whenever I have brought this up with councillors they seem to be immediately on their guard, as it seemed to be a big thing for them.

“It’s the status quo that the borough governs the town and they may feel they stand to lose a certain amount of power, but I feel it would in fact put them in a stronger position.”

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Mr Fisher believes the town has slipped to become “merely part of the borough” and was now “without authority”, unlike its neighbours.

He added he felt the council was not operating on a level playing field, which he found “inequitable, unhealthy and unsustainable”.

“What is in the best interest of the borough may not always be in the best interest of the town,” he added.

“The town is also without the resource of directly elected first tier grassroots representation and authority of the townspeople, by the townspeople, for the townspeople.

“Townspeople know their town best and are its most important stakeholders – it is their town and it’s where they live.”

A council spokeswoman said: “The council can commence its own review, however, it is normal for any review to be commenced by a legitimate request, by way of a petition.”

Such a petition must have more than 2,500 local government electors and must be signed by at least 10 per cent of the electorate.

She added: “The council then has a duty to undertake a community governance review within 12 months. The council has the final decision on whether to support the recommendation, particularly where the recommendation is not in the interest of the wider local community.”

Mr Fisher has set up a website (link, top right) where an e-petition can be signed.