Bury issues town councillors call

THE hunt has begun for public-spirited individuals to serve on Bury St Edmunds' first ever town council.Until now, Government regulations have stopped towns over a certain size having town councils.

THE hunt has begun for public-spirited individuals to serve on Bury St Edmunds' first ever town council.

Until now, Government regulations have stopped towns over a certain size having town councils.

But now those have been lifted, and a third tier will be added to Bury's local government structure on May 1 – when the first town councillors will be elected.

Local residents have already indicated they would welcome a town council. Of 39% to vote in a referendum on the subject last year, 70% were in favour.


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Now the Suffolk Association of Local Councils is encouraging Bury residents to stand for election as town councillors.

Mary Mitson-Woods, chief executive of SALC, wants to persuade all townspeople to get involved.

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She said: "People complain about council tax and other aspects of local government but unless they are prepared to stand for election or vote for the candidate they feel will do the best for their community as a councillor, apathy will win the day."

Ray Nowak, leader of St Edmundsbury Borough Council, believes a town council would allow more decisions to be made at grass roots level.

He said: "This is not a political decision. It was a decision made by the majority of people in the town who participated in last year's ballot.

"In my view, it is a very good move for local democracy. Bury is one of the only areas in the whole county which has neither a parish council or a town council.

"I don't see this as just another level of bureaucracy, but rather another level of opportunity for community involvement looking at things in more detail. It is a way for all parts of the town to have a much greater say in what is going on in Bury."

SALC will be holding an exhibition in Moyes Hall, Bury on March 12 and 19, from 11.30am, giving details of how to become a councillor, the role of a town council and how to vote using a postal ballot.

Town councils are the tier of local government closest to the people they represent. They have limited powers including street lighting, parking, traffic calming and providing entertainment and recreational facilities. They can also comment on any planning application affecting their area.

There are over 9,000 parish and town councils in England. The term "town council" is synonymous with "parish council".

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