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Durham will not get town council
DURHAM will not get a town council, it was decided today.
Following a campaign lasting at least four years, Durham County Council voted 90-5 in favour of ‘Option A’: to take no action. There were six abstentions.
Afterwards, former Mayor of Durham Mary Hawgood, who has led efforts for a new council, said: “It’s terribly sad. But I knew it was going to happen.”
Following lengthy public consultation, county councillors were given two options: to set up no new parish or town councils, or to set up separate parish councils covering Durham City and Newton
Hall (Option B).
Some had hoped the two areas would be covered by a single ‘town council’.
Coun David Freeman (Elvet) said consultation had produced a majority in favour of a new council and councillors should support this.
He said: “It’s a matter of principle and democracy. We have to acknowledge the yes vote. Do we really have the right to ignore their views?”
However, Coun Dennis Southwell (Gilesgate) said people didn’t want ‘parishing’ and Option B would not be fair on the majority of residents; and Coun John Wilkinson (Deerness Valley) said there had been insufficient response to the consultation and the status quo had to be maintained.
Coun Mark Wilkes (Framwellgate Moor) said the consultation had been deeply flawed and abstained.
Coun Grenville Holland (Neville’s Cross) said he was unable to support either option A or B.
Liberal Democrat group leader Nigel Martin (Neville’s Cross) said a majority of respondents from his area had supported the new council, so he could not support Option A.
He also called on the county council to re-examine the issue after the 2013 elections and stage a binding referendum.
Coun Amanda Hopgood (Newton Hall) also said a ‘no’ vote should not be ‘forever’.
However, Conservative group leader Richard Bell said a lot of time and money had been spent on the issue and it should, following the vote, remain ‘dead for many years’.
Council leader Simon Henig said creating a town council would have been against the wishes of the public, who would have had to pay for it.
The meeting, at County Hall, Durham, also ended hopes of one or more parish councils for Crook.