Poll: Plans for Moreton Hall parish council get community backing

Moreton Hall - By Mike Page Moreton Hall - By Mike Page

Jon Vale 
West Suffolk reporter jon.vale@archant.co.uk
Tuesday, May 6, 2014
9:00 AM

Calls for a Bury St Edmunds estate to get its own parish council have been backed by members of its residents’ group – although fears were raised about potential party politics.

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Moreton Hall would split from Bury St Edmunds Town Council and form its own parish council under proposals from the area’s county and borough councillor Trevor Beckwith.

The precept it pays to the town council – £13.50 per year for Band D properties – would instead go to the new parish.

The Moreton Hall Residents’ Association (MHRA) new co-chairman Archie Wotherspoon said: “I sort of agree with Trevor that the parish is the way to go.

“There’s villages around us who are far, far smaller and are managing their own affairs.

“Changing to a parish would give us financial benefits, but I worry we may be beset by political problems we didn’t need.”

It was a sentiment echoed by the association’s honorary secretary Robert Houlton-Hart, who added: “On balance I think it’s a good idea.

“The advantage would be that there would be significant money that would be spent by the parish council on Moreton Hall, whereas the town council, we all pay money into the town council and that gets spent all over the town. It would be money spent in the locality.

“A town council would undoubtedly be political, although one hopes there wouldn’t be such a problem with a parish.

“Moreton Hall is the fastest-growing estate certainly in Bury, and I think some of the facilities are lagging behind.”

Town council chairman Stefan Oliver yesterday said that Mr Beckwith “didn’t bother to speak with the town council” before publicising the idea and that such a move would “have a very important affect”, but declined to comment further until the town council had discussed the proposals.

However, Moreton Hall’s town and borough councillor Frank Warby was strongly in favour of the move, saying: “We pay into the town council, and nothing ever comes back here.

“If we want something, we have to fundraise or run a campaign. I think it would be a good idea.”

MHRA is holding its annual public meeting on Monday at the Moreton Hall Community Centre, at 7.30pm.

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