Wyre Forest District Council is in the process of setting up a Town Council for Kidderminster.
We are doing this because we have carried out a Community Governance Review. It was to establish whether to create a parish for the town.
As part of the Review, the Council held a Local Advisory Poll in May 2015. It asked Kidderminster residents, who were registered to vote, ‘Should Kidderminster have a Town Council?.’ Almost 80% (79.1%) voted in favour.
At Council on Wednesday 29 July 2015, the recommendation to set up a Town Council for Kidderminster was agreed.
All the recommendations can be found in the Statement of Recommendations of the Community Governance Review. Read it here.
A consultation was carried out to get views on the recommendations put forward by Wyre Forest District Council. It covered the electoral arrangements for the Town Council (how many councillors and the areas they will represent), what assets will be transferred to the Town Council and the temporary arrangements for membership of the Town Council before elections in May 2016. The results of the consultation were be discussed at Council on Wednesday 30 September 2015.
Wyre Forest District Council agreed the Reorganisation Order at its meeting on Wednesday 30 September.
Because Kidderminster residents said they wanted it! In 2014 Wyre Forest District Council decided to carry out a Community Governance Review. As part of this we held a Local Advisory Poll in May 2015. 79.1% of people who voted said they wanted a Town Council for Kidderminster. When all the consultation was completed it was clear that the majority of people backed Kidderminster having a Town Council, like Bewdley and Stourport-on-Severn.
As part of the plans, the proposed Council Tax precept for the average household in Kidderminster (Band B) would be £21 in 2016-17. This is the amount a household would pay in a year and is about 40p a week.
Kidderminster Town Council will have substantial responsibilities and will be operating a similar range of services to Stourport-on-Severn Town Council and Bewdley Town Council. The Council Tax at Band B for those councils in 2015-16 is £21.09 in Stourport and £20.00 in Bewdley.
Kidderminster has clearly defined communities and areas within the town. This was looked at closely by the independent Local Government Boundary Commission for England, when it drew up new wards for Wyre Forest District Council that were used for the elections in May 2015. Using the same wards for the town council is simpler than devising alternative electoral arrangements, and will help electors in Kidderminster to become familiar with them – the same boundaries and polling stations would be used for all elections. Using the same wards as the district council means that there is fair representation across the town, as each ward would have a broadly similar number of electors.
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The Town Council must have a minimum of 5 members: this is a legal requirement. There is no upper limit. National research, conducted in 1992, suggested almost all Town Councils serving more than 20,000 people had between 13 and 31 councillors. Stourport-on-Severn Town Council has 18 councillors and Bewdley has 13. It is felt that 18 councillors would be correct for Kidderminster. This would be 3 members for each of the recommended wards, which again is the same as the district council.
Wyre Forest District Council is committed to localism – this is local assets for local people. There are plenty of examples of this. We have transferred the Civic Centre and Civic Hall to Stourport Town Council and management of the toilets at Upper Arley to the Parish Council. We would initially support the new Kidderminster Town Council both operationally and financially to make sure it could operate successfully.
A full list of all the items can be found here.
Elections to the new council will be held in May 2016.
We are recommending that a new Town Council is created on 1 December 2015, and that assets would transfer to it on 1 April 2016. We are proposing that the existing district councillors for wards in Kidderminster should serve as members of the new council from 1 December 2015 to 9 May 2016. This is because there is a large number of issues that need addressing before May 2016, to make sure that the councillors who are elected can quickly take on their responsibilities. This includes things like developing banking arrangements and budgets, agreeing a staffing structure and adopting policies.
The Charter Trustees will cease to exist on 9 May 2016 when the councillors elected to the town council take office. All the property and staff of the Charter Trustees would transfer to the town council on that date.