Town council - yes or no vote for Kidderminster

DECISION: Wyre Forest District Council will hold a referendum for the people of Kidderminster to decide their fate.

GROUP CHAIRMAN: ICHC councillor Graham Ballinger.

HIGHER TURNOUT: Conservative councillor Marcus Hart.

First published in News
Last updated

THE people of Kidderminster will be asked if they want a town council in a "yes or no" referendum, which could bring the 40-year parishing issue to an end once and for all.

A vote will take place in May next year, on the same day as the general election, after Wyre Forest district councillors at a heated meeting last night voted against setting up another community governance review next month, which would have seen Kidderminster residents participate in the same consultation they responded to last year.

The referendum idea was put forward by the ruling Conservatives and accepted by 27 votes to 17 but caused deep divisions in Wyre Forest House's council chamber. Labour and Independent Community and Health Concern (ICHC) councillors labelled the move a "delaying tactic" but Conservative John Campion, suggested they were "scared of the people".

The meeting was called to discuss findings of a cross-party working group, set up after the previous review was scrapped last year when 53 per cent of consultation respondents opposed the idea - although just 3.7 per cent of the town's 5,000 electors voted.

The 10-member group, led by ICHC councillor Graham Ballinger, recommended running the process again at a cost of up to £35,000 but acting council leader, Conservative Marcus Hart argued asking the residents on general election day would boost participation to at least 60 per cent.

Labour's Mike Kelly, who favoured the original proposal, said: "[The amendment] is a delaying tactic. Three times the charter trustees have petitioned the people of Kidderminster and each time it gets fudged." He described the lack of a town council as an "injustice and something people have been fighting for 40 years".

Conservative councillor Anne Hingley, said she was prepared to vote for her party's amendment "if it brings members who were not in favour of parishing on board".

Independent councillor Helen Dyke criticised both proposals, saying: "When the last vote was unsuccessful, my mailbox was not full and people were not phoning me saying this is a terrible thing."

She added: "Out of the two, the referendum is the better idea then please when the residents have spoken at that referendum can we please take their point of view."

Conservative councillor Tracey Onslow added the process smacked of "we asked you the question you did not give us the answer we wanted so we are going to ask you again".

The battle has been ongoing since Kidderminster Borough Council was abolished under local government reorganisation in 1974.

Comments (13)

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7:44pm Thu 27 Mar 14

emjaypee says...

Message to Mr Kelly & Mr Ballinger... NO means NO..... not ignore a ballot that does not go your way and try again.
Do what you were elected to do - LISTEN TO YOUR ELECTORATE.
This outdated institution has no place in the 21st century.
Is it any wonder you can't be taken seriously and trusted to form an administration?
There are more important issues you should be earning your allowances for.
Message to Mr Kelly & Mr Ballinger... NO means NO..... not ignore a ballot that does not go your way and try again. Do what you were elected to do - LISTEN TO YOUR ELECTORATE. This outdated institution has no place in the 21st century. Is it any wonder you can't be taken seriously and trusted to form an administration? There are more important issues you should be earning your allowances for. emjaypee
  • Score: -4

11:15pm Thu 27 Mar 14

pottery1 says...

This subject oes not appear to be high on most people's list of priorities when they are trying to work and pay their bills. Surely if the turn out was low last time that shows that perhaps residents just were not interested enough. I am hoping that a one off referendum of a plain yes or no will sort out this issue for once and all.

Cllr Helen Dyke
This subject oes not appear to be high on most people's list of priorities when they are trying to work and pay their bills. Surely if the turn out was low last time that shows that perhaps residents just were not interested enough. I am hoping that a one off referendum of a plain yes or no will sort out this issue for once and all. Cllr Helen Dyke pottery1
  • Score: 6

7:00am Fri 28 Mar 14

DOEPUBLIC says...

And people wonder why people become cynical of, or choose not to vote. This, according to the statistics above means that the equivalent of up to £7 per person is to be spent with no mandate, for the equivalent of a Kidderminster Independence grouping that clearly will never accept a No from the electorate.
A disgraceful situation bringing to shame a trusted franchise, with the apparent expectation that 40% will not respond anyway.
Maybe definitions of what parish, borough, town and district mean in the politicians glossary could be helpful.
And people wonder why people become cynical of, or choose not to vote. This, according to the statistics above means that the equivalent of up to £7 per person is to be spent with no mandate, for the equivalent of a Kidderminster Independence grouping that clearly will never accept a No from the electorate. A disgraceful situation bringing to shame a trusted franchise, with the apparent expectation that 40% will not respond anyway. Maybe definitions of what parish, borough, town and district mean in the politicians glossary could be helpful. DOEPUBLIC
  • Score: 0

9:45pm Sat 29 Mar 14

ctamsin says...

They're just like petulant children keeping on, they're not getting their way so they intend to keep on asking - at a cost to us taxpayers. Thought they were supposed to be saving money?
They're just like petulant children keeping on, they're not getting their way so they intend to keep on asking - at a cost to us taxpayers. Thought they were supposed to be saving money? ctamsin
  • Score: -6

11:31am Mon 31 Mar 14

Europeanist64 says...

Another wasteful talking shop.

There is NO need for such a body for a bunch of parochials.

Wyre Forest should be ABOLISHED, Worcestershire CC ABOLISHED and a North Worcestershire Unitary Authority set up.
Another wasteful talking shop. There is NO need for such a body for a bunch of parochials. Wyre Forest should be ABOLISHED, Worcestershire CC ABOLISHED and a North Worcestershire Unitary Authority set up. Europeanist64
  • Score: 0

12:55pm Mon 31 Mar 14

jon cooper says...

Based on the trials and tribulations of the communities that have been represented by town/parish councils in Wyre Forest these past 40 years, the formation of a Kidderminster Town Council will bring nothing but trouble for both current and future taxpayers of Kidderminster.

In WFDC's eyes, town councils are nothing more than convienient cash-cows that are milked purely to make and save money. Whether it be civic facilities, leisure centres, or even public toilets - WFDC expect taxpayers that reside under the guardianship of a town council to fund district run facilities purely themselves. If a Kidderminster Town Council is formed, it's a safe bet that the hierachy within Wyre Forest House will expect much the same from the taxpayers of Kidderminster!

In my opinion, too much water (mostly financial) has passed under the bridge to create a Kidderminster Town Council now - it's all a little too late. But for the advocates who wish to see the abolition of WFDC as a governing authority, the formation of a Kidderminster Town Council is one step in the right direction to make the unitary authority route a reality!
Based on the trials and tribulations of the communities that have been represented by town/parish councils in Wyre Forest these past 40 years, the formation of a Kidderminster Town Council will bring nothing but trouble for both current and future taxpayers of Kidderminster. In WFDC's eyes, town councils are nothing more than convienient cash-cows that are milked purely to make and save money. Whether it be civic facilities, leisure centres, or even public toilets - WFDC expect taxpayers that reside under the guardianship of a town council to fund district run facilities purely themselves. If a Kidderminster Town Council is formed, it's a safe bet that the hierachy within Wyre Forest House will expect much the same from the taxpayers of Kidderminster! In my opinion, too much water (mostly financial) has passed under the bridge to create a Kidderminster Town Council now - it's all a little too late. But for the advocates who wish to see the abolition of WFDC as a governing authority, the formation of a Kidderminster Town Council is one step in the right direction to make the unitary authority route a reality! jon cooper
  • Score: -7

1:06pm Tue 1 Apr 14

GGmommy says...

Cannot see a single reason why we should need one!
Cannot see a single reason why we should need one! GGmommy
  • Score: -3

11:15am Wed 2 Apr 14

jimpbob says...

We have a district council, Wyre Forest, that covers some things and a set of Charter Trustees who cover other things. What Kidderminster needs is a Town Council that deals with all of it. Lets have a referendum and sort it once and for all.
We have a district council, Wyre Forest, that covers some things and a set of Charter Trustees who cover other things. What Kidderminster needs is a Town Council that deals with all of it. Lets have a referendum and sort it once and for all. jimpbob
  • Score: 5

12:24pm Wed 2 Apr 14

GGmommy says...

Interesting to see that most of the comments on here are against a Town Council. However these comments are also receiving lots of thumbs down? Which Councillor is sitting here silently objecting to these commments then?

I have not read one piece of information that would convince me that a Town Council would help any of our issues, it would have little power and would only be able to pass recommendations through to WFDC who in turn will make their own decisions anyway like they always do. The only impact I can see is greater cost.

While we are on the subject - Do we indeed even want to keep a Mayor? An important historical role perhaps, but I would be interested to see how much we pay for them to attend fancy dinners and events?
Interesting to see that most of the comments on here are against a Town Council. However these comments are also receiving lots of thumbs down? Which Councillor is sitting here silently objecting to these commments then? I have not read one piece of information that would convince me that a Town Council would help any of our issues, it would have little power and would only be able to pass recommendations through to WFDC who in turn will make their own decisions anyway like they always do. The only impact I can see is greater cost. While we are on the subject - Do we indeed even want to keep a Mayor? An important historical role perhaps, but I would be interested to see how much we pay for them to attend fancy dinners and events? GGmommy
  • Score: -1

1:18pm Wed 2 Apr 14

jon cooper says...

GGmommy wrote:
Interesting to see that most of the comments on here are against a Town Council. However these comments are also receiving lots of thumbs down? Which Councillor is sitting here silently objecting to these commments then?

I have not read one piece of information that would convince me that a Town Council would help any of our issues, it would have little power and would only be able to pass recommendations through to WFDC who in turn will make their own decisions anyway like they always do. The only impact I can see is greater cost.

While we are on the subject - Do we indeed even want to keep a Mayor? An important historical role perhaps, but I would be interested to see how much we pay for them to attend fancy dinners and events?
It's been a real bug-bearer to many politicians that Kidderminster had its town council taken away 40 years ago ... What these individuals have not divulged to the public, is that a forthcoming Kidderminster Town Council will bring nothing but trouble, and again I base these facts on the experiences that my particular town council has faced since 1974.

A Town Council may sound a democratic and grand thing - but it most certainly isn't; and the only people who will pay the price for it, is the Kidderminster taxpayer ... Perhaps this is why the previous review was supported by a dire 3.7% of the Kidderminster electorate, of whom the majority didn't want to see the creation of a Kidderminster Town Council anyway.

It really does seem that the cross-party advocates will not take no for an answer, and will take whatever route possible to get the answer they really want for themselves. However, if the unitary route seems a desirable thing, the creation of a kidderminster Town Council will most certainly be a step in the right direction.
[quote][p][bold]GGmommy[/bold] wrote: Interesting to see that most of the comments on here are against a Town Council. However these comments are also receiving lots of thumbs down? Which Councillor is sitting here silently objecting to these commments then? I have not read one piece of information that would convince me that a Town Council would help any of our issues, it would have little power and would only be able to pass recommendations through to WFDC who in turn will make their own decisions anyway like they always do. The only impact I can see is greater cost. While we are on the subject - Do we indeed even want to keep a Mayor? An important historical role perhaps, but I would be interested to see how much we pay for them to attend fancy dinners and events?[/p][/quote]It's been a real bug-bearer to many politicians that Kidderminster had its town council taken away 40 years ago ... What these individuals have not divulged to the public, is that a forthcoming Kidderminster Town Council will bring nothing but trouble, and again I base these facts on the experiences that my particular town council has faced since 1974. A Town Council may sound a democratic and grand thing - but it most certainly isn't; and the only people who will pay the price for it, is the Kidderminster taxpayer ... Perhaps this is why the previous review was supported by a dire 3.7% of the Kidderminster electorate, of whom the majority didn't want to see the creation of a Kidderminster Town Council anyway. It really does seem that the cross-party advocates will not take no for an answer, and will take whatever route possible to get the answer they really want for themselves. However, if the unitary route seems a desirable thing, the creation of a kidderminster Town Council will most certainly be a step in the right direction. jon cooper
  • Score: -4

2:20pm Wed 2 Apr 14

GGmommy says...

jimpbob wrote:
We have a district council, Wyre Forest, that covers some things and a set of Charter Trustees who cover other things. What Kidderminster needs is a Town Council that deals with all of it. Lets have a referendum and sort it once and for all.
But we wouldnt get a Town Council that deals with all of it! Look at the other Town and Parish councils in the area, they do have a some input and can put forward their approvals or otherwise, but ultimate power ALWAYS rests with WFDC and they will always do what they were going to do anyway.

There will no additional "real" powers, just more money wasted in the administration etc!
[quote][p][bold]jimpbob[/bold] wrote: We have a district council, Wyre Forest, that covers some things and a set of Charter Trustees who cover other things. What Kidderminster needs is a Town Council that deals with all of it. Lets have a referendum and sort it once and for all.[/p][/quote]But we wouldnt get a Town Council that deals with all of it! Look at the other Town and Parish councils in the area, they do have a some input and can put forward their approvals or otherwise, but ultimate power ALWAYS rests with WFDC and they will always do what they were going to do anyway. There will no additional "real" powers, just more money wasted in the administration etc! GGmommy
  • Score: -4

9:23am Thu 3 Apr 14

BewdleyBugle says...

Hollow out an already struggling town by removing the district council offices and relocating the leisure centre, and then hand the problem over to another body. Nice.
Hollow out an already struggling town by removing the district council offices and relocating the leisure centre, and then hand the problem over to another body. Nice. BewdleyBugle
  • Score: 1

9:27am Thu 3 Apr 14

Arsiep says...

No need to be bothered by this.
We could be absorbed into Greater Birmingham if the item in the Midlands Today programme has any basis in fact.
No need to be bothered by this. We could be absorbed into Greater Birmingham if the item in the Midlands Today programme has any basis in fact. Arsiep
  • Score: 0

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